Fraudsters are already exploiting the Federal Government's carbon tax and have attempted to steal bank account details from a NSW pensioner.
The Port Stephens woman was called and told she was to receive a $5,000 rebate to offset increased costs under the new tax.
Criminals asked for her bank account details in order to receive the payment, but the woman refused and called her local MP.
The NSW Department of Fair Trading told SC it was the first instance of fraudsters exploiting the carbon tax, which was announced this week.
NSW Fair Trading Minister Anthony Roberts warned consumers to be on alert for further scams.
“They trade in deception and unscrupulously prey on vulnerable people. These callers are often indiscriminate so everyone should be on the lookout," Roberts said in a statement.
“Criminals and shonks often leverage topical and familiar issues such as natural disasters or government programs to make their scams sound legitimate.
"The more we do to raise awareness the harder it makes it for the scammers."
The phone scam is similar to others in which criminals exploit topical events to scam bank account details. Tax returns and Australia's iCode computer security scheme have been exploited in the same method.