Scam Alert – NBN robocall scam threatens to disconnect households from the internet

A phone scam claiming to be from the National Broadband Network (NBN) is alive in Queensland and other States.

The ACCC is warning the community that scammers are pretending to be from NBN to con victims out of their money and personal information. The latest robo call includes an automated voice that tells you that the NBN is now in your area and you have 24 hours to connect to it or be disconnected from your present service by pressing 1 to talk to a technician.

NBN Co chief security officer Darren Kane said people needed to protect their personal information by being on guard, verifying who they were talking to and never disclosing bank accounts or other personal details to an unsolicited caller.

“It is important to be aware that NBN Co will never make unsolicited calls or door knock to sell broadband services,” he said.

Mr Kane said any scams should be reported to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission through its Scamwatch website.

People can protect themselves by following some tips:

  • If you’re ever in doubt about contact you’ve had from someone saying they’re from NBN trying to sell you an internet or phone service, hang up the phone and call your retail service provider to check if the person calling is a fraud.
  • You can only connect to the NBN network by purchasing a plan through a phone and internet service provider. Go to NBN’s website to check if your home or business address is able to connect to the NBN network and see which phone and internet providers are available in your area.
  • Never give your personal, credit card or online account details over the phone unless you made the call and the phone number came from a trusted source.
  • Never give an unsolicited caller remote access to your computer.

If you think you have provided bank account or credit card details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately.

Health News – When a thirst might be dangerous

In the heat of summer, it can take as little as 30 minutes to become dehydrated. But it’s not just the heat that can dry you out.

Air-conditioning or even just sitting in front of a fan for extended periods can do the job of dehydrating you just as quickly.

Dehydration can be subtle, but it can turn into a serious health concern. While there are many opinions on how much water you need to drink on average each day to stay properly hydrated, different hydration requirements among people will vary. However, making sure you drink at least a few glasses of water each day should help to stave off the effects of dehydration.

From minor symptoms such as having trouble concentrating, thirst and a dry mouth, to more serious concerns such as nausea, headaches, heat stroke and fever, dehydration affects people in different ways. Dehydration can become so bad that you can land in hospital.

So, how can you tell if you’re dehydrated? Here are nine signs to look out for:

  1. Increased thirst and a dry sticky mouth
  2. Tiredness, confusion and anger
  3. Dry eyes and blurred vision
  4.  Headaches, dizziness and disorientation
  5. Cramping
  6. Not sweating
  7.  Dark-coloured urine
  8. Fever
  9. Dry skin

READ MORE

Tips:
Plain water is good for you, but experts recommend a combination of water, electrolytes and sodium to stay properly hydrated.

If you’re in the sun for too long, or exercise a little too strenuously, it’s important to know that you can still overheat, no matter how much water you drink.

Scamwatch Radar Alert – Warning about ’emergency’ text messages

Scamwatch is warning members of the public about a spate of text messages asking for emergency assistance. These messages are coming from phone numbers not in your mobile contacts. For example, the text message might read, ‘Please call me back right away. It is an Emergency I need your help!’

People who have called the number back report being verbally abused by a recording on the other end. This is a new and emerging issue. While people have not yet reported losing money as a result of these calls, you may find the content of the recording distressing. Scamwatch therefore advises that you exercise caution or do not respond to these text messages.

Scam Watch – Radar Alert – Warning about tax scams

Tax scams seem to be everywhere at the moment and Scamwatch is warning people not to engage with phone calls or emails they receive threatening arrest or jail over unpaid tax debts.

Reports of these scams have jumped significantly during the past month. The scam is timed to coincide with the cut-off date for people needing to have their tax returns submitted to the Australian Tax Office.

Most of these scams occur over the phone. People get a call from an aggressive scammer directly or receive a robotic-sounding voice message informing them they need to contact a phone number in relation to an outstanding tax debt, or face imminent arrest and jail time.

The scammer pretends to be from the Australian Tax Office or the police to scare people into believing the contact is real. They will tell people to buy gift cards like iTunes or Google Play to ‘pay’ the tax debt or a fine. They may also get people to send money by other methods like Bitcoin ATMs or pre-paid credit cards.

This is a scam. The tax office will never threaten you with arrest, or demand immediate payment of a tax debt or fine with unusual payment methods like gift cards or Bitcoin.

If you ever get a call or email claiming you will be arrested due to a tax debt, simply hang up the phone or delete the email. Do not call the number provided in the phone message or email you receive.

If you’re concerned the contact may be legitimate, you can also call the ATO on 1800 008 540 to check its veracity.

You can also report the scam at www.scamwatch.gov.au/report-a-scam.

Advice – Changes to the income and assets test and payments

Part of making retirement affordable is fully understanding your entitlements and keeping up to date with rule changes. Here are the latest government updates to help you stay on track.

Income and assets tests
From 2 July, the maximum income amount before the full Age Pension is affected is $172 per fortnight for singles and $304 combined per fortnight for couples The new thresholds are $1987.20 and $3040.40 respectively. The new asset limits are $561,250 for single home-owners and $844,000 for couples (combined). For non home-owners, the limits are $768,250 and $1,051,000 (combined).

Widow Allowance no longer available
From 1 July 2018, the Widow Allowance was no longer available to new applicants. Those who would previously have claimed the allowance can now make a claim for either the Newstart Allowance, Age Pension or Special Benefit (if you’re over Age Pension age but don’t meet residence rules for the Age Pension).

Recipients of the current Widow Allowance can keep the payment until 2022 or until they transfer to the pension (whichever is sooner), as long as they retain their eligibility.

End to backdated payments 
Claims for certain payments and concession cards will need to be completed in full before they are assessed, with the cessation of ‘intent to claim’ arrangement to enable backdated payments from 1 July 2018.

You will have 14 days to complete your claim if you contact Centrelink, start an online claim or submit an intent to claim before 30 June 2018.

Payment of Carer Supplement 
Those eligible for the Carers Supplement will receive a payment of $600 for each eligible person in their care. If you care for a disabled child, you will receive the Child Disability Assistance Payment of up to $1000 for each eligible child. These payments will be made between 1 July and 31 July 2018.

Changes to grandparent payments
From 2 July, grandparents who care for their grandchildren will face changes to the payments they receive, with the Grandparent Child Care Benefit (GCCB) being replaced by the Additional Child Care Subsidy (Grandparent) (ACCS) from 2 July 2018.

If you are already receiving the GCCB, you will receive a letter from the Department of Human Services advising you of the changes. If you wish to claim the ACCS (G), you will need to complete a child-care subsidy assessment via your online Centrelink account.

Downsizing super rule starts
On 1 July 2018, the much-vaunted ‘downsizing’ super rules commences. This allows retirees to make a non-concessional contribution of up to $300,000 (singles) or $600,000 (couples) into super from the proceeds of selling their primary place of residence, if they have lived there for 10 years or more. This contribution applies even if the super balance exceeds the current $1.6 million cap.

There could be a financial downside for those who take advantage of the program, with changes to exempt asset values possibly affecting your Age Pension.

More super changes take place
As well as the downsizing rules, other changes to super rules took effect on 1 July. These were:

  • the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal was replaced by the industry-funded Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA)
  • individuals whose annual income exceeds $263,157 and have multiple employers are able to nominate that wages from certain employers are not subject to the superannuation guarantee
  • rules for tax deductions on personal contributions tightened
  • catch-up super contributions can be made by individuals with a total superannuation balance of less than $500,000.

This article by Janelle Ward is published in the digital Your Life Choices – Simplifying retirement

 

 

 

 

I recommend you subscribe to it. Ted Chitham

Well-Being: Age/Service Pension update: 1 July 2018 changes

This article from YourLifeChoices reveals the indexation of income and asset thresholds that will apply from 1 July 2018.

For age/service  pensioners, this means that those who have narrowly missed out on a full or part Age/Service Pension due to income earned or assets held, may now qualify for a payment or have their payment increased.

In what could further boost your rate of Age/Service Pension paid, deeming thresholds have also been indexed.

So grab yourself a cuppa and find out if your payment will change.

Disabled Veterans – GST Exemption on a car or car parts

A reminder that  if you are an eligible disabled veteran buying or leasing a car, or purchasing car parts GST-free, you can complete this declaration and present it to your car or car parts supplier.

Disabled Veterans GST Exemption Form

ANZAC Gallipoli Archaeology Database

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester today announced the Anzac Gallipoli Archaeological Database, which was created by the University of Melbourne.
“This remarkable database will add new layers of insight into our understanding of the Gallipoli battlefields,” Mr Chester said.
I commend the work of the University of Melbourne in creating this database. In particular I acknowledge the Joint Historical Archaeological Survey team who worked for many years to precisely record the details of the some 2,000 objects and features they located in their study.”
The database will be an important legacy of the work of the tri-nation Joint Historical Archaeological Survey, the Australian component of which was funded by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
“I have no doubt the Anzac Gallipoli Archaeological Database will be of great value to researchers and the broader community,” Mr Chester said
“The Joint Historical Archaeological Survey was a significant project in the Anzac Centenary, and this database will ensure the findings of the extensive fieldwork are easily accessible to all Australian, New Zealand and Turkish people.
“I encourage all Australians to take the time to browse the database and gain a deeper understanding of the Gallipoli campaign through a unique and fascinating resource.”

The Anzac Gallipoli Archaeological Database can be accessed on the University of Melbourne website.

The Anzac Gallipoli Archaeological Database (AGAD) is a unique digital archive of the results of five seasons of archaeological survey of the World War 1 battlefield at Anzac on the Gallipoli peninsular, Turkey. It includes over 2000 records of precisely documented artefacts and features from both Turkish and Allied (Anzac) areas of the battlefield and provides a unique perspective on both sides of the conflict. AGAD aims to contribute to the study of World War I through its emphasis on landscape and artefacts.

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Chester Media Release – Expanding services for veterans and their families in partnership with Australia Post

A program to improve easy access to general information about mental health services, counselling, rehabilitation, and transition and support services for veterans and their families has been launched in Mount Gambier, South Australia and North Lakes in the Moreton Bay area of Queensland as part pilot the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) is conducting with Australia Post.

download 16Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester said the trial is part of the Turnbull Government’s ongoing commitment to put veterans and their families first.

“This pilot, in partnership with Australia Post, is exploring the opportunity for DVA to further expand its reach to veterans and their families by tapping into the extensive network of Australia Post outlets,” Mr Chester said.

“The pilot provides easy access to general information about mental health services, counselling, rehabilitation, and transition and support services to veterans and their families who may not have had prior contact with DVA.

“This expansion to a further two sites will provide more information about the way this service is accessed by veterans and their families in metropolitan and regional areas and will help us assess the benefits of the service further.”

The pilot supplements DVA’s existing face-to-face service delivery network by leveraging the large Australia-wide footprint of Australia Post, it does not replace any existing DVA program or service.

Information is available via the in-store Australia Post kiosk facilities, as well as the Australia Post concierge service, in-store posters, brochures and videos.

A feedback form is available via the in-store iMac in which DVA is seeking ongoing user feedback to continue improving the service. The pilot will be evaluated before its conclusion at the end of June 2018.

18th April 2018

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for support and free and confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 8 8241 4546). VVCS is a service founded by Vietnam veterans.

AUSTRALIANS CAUGHT UP IN FACEBOOK LEAK TO BE NOTIFIED SHARE ON SOCIAL MEDIA

About 310,000 Australian Facebook users are set to find out their personal information may have been accessed by Cambridge Analytica.

facebook

The social media behemoth is expected on Wednesday (Tuesday US time) to notify the 87 million users worldwide whose data may have been unknowingly and “improperly” shared with the British political consulting agency.

About one in 50 Australian users and one in every three American users are among those affected.

Facebook users will receive one of two notifications at the top of their newsfeed.

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