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Federal Police To Investigate After Scammers Defraud ATO's Early-Access Super Scheme

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) has confirmed scammers tried to defraud the government's early access superannuation scheme.

It is understood the ATO, which has accepted more than 950,000 applications since launching the scheme on April 20,  declared on Wednesday it was investigating "fraudulent activity" associated with the initiative.

According to Sky News there have been at least 100 cases of fraudulent activity involving Australians who registered for the scheme via the Tax Office's website.

The publication said one applicant reportedly had their details stolen and lost $10,000 from a super account, but the ATO urged its online systems had not been compromised.

The Australian Federal Police is currently investigating the matter.

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So far the ATO has approved 450,000 applications for early super withdrawal, totaling $3.8 billion in payments.

"Measures designed to protect the integrity of the early access to superannuation scheme have helped detect a small amount of fraudulent activity associated with the program," the ATO said in a statement.

"A small number of people appear to have had personal details unlawfully used in a bid to defraud the program. This has been stopped and the impacted individuals are being contacted.

"The ATO's online systems have not been compromised."

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The Federal Government launched the scheme in response to the coronavirus crisis.

As part of the plan, Australians were able to access $10,000 from their super accounts this financial year, plus another $10,000 during the 2020-21 financial year.

To be eligible you must be a permanent resident of Australia or New Zealand and be employed or eligible to receive the JobSeeker payment, youth allowance for jobseekers, parenting payment, special benefit, or farm household allowance.

People who have been made redundant, had their working hours slashed by at least 20 percent or were a sole trader whose businesses was suspended are also eligible.

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But experts such as Labor's shadow treasurer, Jim Chalmers, said: "early access to superannuation should be a last resort, not the first port of call".

"We also think that there are real issues with encouraging people to divest from super when the market's in the condition that it is now," he added.

"It's not good for them, it's not good for the system more broadly and we don't want to create problems for people's retirement down the track."