Australia

Council letter scam offers hefty electricity bill grants to Brisbane residents

A fake letter has been distributed to Brisbane residents offering a one-off $1860 grant for electricity bills during COVID-19, sparking an urgent warning from Calamvale councillor Angela Owen.

The letter features Brisbane City Council colours and letterhead, but where it falls down is the use of a mobile number for residents to call to check their grant eligibility.

The letter addresses residents within the 4017 and 4034 postcodes. This includes Bracken Ridge, Brighton, Deagon, Sandgate, Shorncliffe, Aspley, Boondall, Carseldine, Geebung and Zillmere.

"It is with joy that we inform you of your successful qualifications for the newly-introduced Council COVID-19 grant which allows people ... who have lost income due to the COVID-19 outbreak to receive a one-off grant of up to $1860 off your electricity bill," the scam letter said.

"In response to concerns regarding the community and funding not being sufficient enough for the region, the Brisbane City Council have been working closely with your local councillor to provide this funding to the broader community.

"Legislation was passed for this grant on the 26th of July. If you have concerns, questions or queries regarding this grant and your household's eligibility, please contact the 24-hour Brisbane City Council call service on 0420 651 001."

Cr Owen's Calamvale Ward covers the southern Brisbane suburbs of Algester, Calamvale, Drewvale, Forest Lake, Heathwood, Karawatha, Larapinta, Pallara, Parkinson, Stretton and Willawong.

However, she posted a picture of the scam letter on her Facebook page on Thursday, warning fellow greater Brisbane residents to not call the mobile number.

"Brisbane City Council does not offer grants or rebates for electricity bills, nor would you be directed to a mobile number for our 24-hour contact centre," she said.

"If you receive this fake letter, please immediately contact the Brisbane City Council contact centre on 3403 8888. There may be other versions circulating for other postcodes.

"Please share on Facebook and pass on to older residents who may not be on Facebook."

More to come.

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