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Fraud and scams

Fraud and Corruption Control and Reporting

Fraud and corruption undermine the ability of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to achieve its purpose and reduces the effectiveness of the Australian Government's policies and programs administered by NEMA. It is the responsibility of NEMA and its stakeholders to prevent funds, assets and information from being misused to ensure public monies are spent for their intended purpose.

We are committed to preventing and controlling fraud and corruption and this can only be achieved through the collective effort of staff, contractors, external service providers and the community.

What is fraud?

Fraud is ‘dishonestly obtaining a benefit or causing a loss, by deception or other means’. Fraud is intentional; it requires an intent to obtain a benefit (tangible or intangible) which may be obtained by a third party. It is not the result of carelessness, accident, or error.

Fraud can be perpetrated internally (by employees) or externally (by service providers, contractors, individual recipients of Agency funding or organised crime groups). Examples of fraud include, but are not limited to: 

  • theft of Commonwealth assets
  • misuse/misappropriation of grant funds
  • departmental staff collusion with service providers for kickbacks
  • unlawful or unauthorised release of information
  • providing misleading information or falsified documentation to the Agency
  • charging for goods or services that are incomplete or not delivered
  • fraudulently inflating invoices.

What kind of fraud should you report to us?

Whilst we take all allegations of fraud seriously, in order to ensure that your report is dealt with as quickly as possible please ensure that you are reporting to the correct authority.

  • NEMA is responsible for investigating allegations of fraud in relation to the misuse of disaster funding and supports. NEMA will investigate allegations of fraud in relation to programs it manages.

Please see our Programs page for a full list of relevant programs.

Fraud against these programs can take many forms. The most common types of fraud include:

  • Eligibility Fraud – Where an individual or entity provides false or misleading information to the Agency, or its contracted service providers, to meet eligibility requirements for a support or benefit.
  • Expenditure Fraud – Where an individual or entity uses supports or benefits for an inappropriate purpose, contrary to the conditions or agreements under which the support or benefit was provided.

For allegations of fraud regarding the Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment, please refer to the Services Australia Reporting Fraud website.

What is corruption?

Corruption is any conduct that adversely affects:

  • The honest or impartial exercise of an official’s powers or performance of an official’s functions
  • Conduct which may involve a breach of public trust
  • Conduct that abuses a person’s office, and
  • Conduct involving the misuse of information acquired in a person’s capacity as an official.

Where appropriate, substantiated allegations of corruption may be referred to the National Anti-Corruption Commission for investigation.

Fraud, corruption and scams support

Disaster-affected people and communities can get fraud and scams support from the government.

To help make sure support gets to those who need it most, the organisations that manage grants or other payments conduct a range of:

  • application checks
  • post-payment compliance
  • debt recovery activities.

Unfortunately, some people sometimes try to claim payments they are not entitled to.

We work with authorities, including police, to support any investigations and prosecutions of fraud.

Disaster recovery fundraising scams

Fundraising appeals often occur in the aftermath of a disaster. Unfortunately, some of these are scams.

You can get fraud and scams support on the Scamwatch website.

If you want to donate to disaster-affected people and communities, you can protect yourself by remembering the below information:

  • Scammers pretend to be real and well-known charities. They may also create their own charity names and impersonate disaster-affected people.
  • Scammers cold call, send direct messages, and create fake websites or social media pages to raise funds.
  • Do not use platforms to donate to disaster recovery that do not prove the fundraiser is real.
  • Do not donate via fundraising pages that do not guarantee to return your money if the page is proven not to be real.
  • Be careful about crowdfunding requests. These may be fake and could also come from scammers.
  • Always check the terms and conditions of funding platforms and make sure you are dealing with official organisations. If you are not sure, donate to an established charity instead.
  • If you donate to an established charity or not-for-profit organisation, make sure it is registered. You can do this by searching through the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Charity Register.
  • If you think you have paid money to a scammer, contact your bank immediately.

How do you report suspected fraud?

The National Emergency Management Agency takes all allegations of fraud and corruption seriously. You can report suspected fraudulent or corrupt behaviour against the Agency by contacting:


Post: Fraud Manager, National Emergency Management Agency, PO Box 133 CANBERRA ACT 2601.

You may choose to remain anonymous when providing information. The more information you are able to provide in the early stages of a report will assist us to look into the matter. You are encouraged to consider:

  • Identifying details about the person/s and/or organisation/s involved, including names, phone numbers, addresses, and any other identifying details (e.g. ABN, ACN, etc.)
  • Which program may have been misused?
  • When the activity occurred, and for how long?
  • What happened?
  • Where did it occur?
  • How did you learn about the activity?
  • Why does it seem suspicious?
  • Who else have you reported this to?
  • Your best contact details.

What happens if you report suspected fraud?

The Agency will assess each allegation of suspected fraud. Where allegations are substantiated, there may be a range of options available including recovering overpaid funds, taking other action for breach of contract or pursuing a criminal fraud prosecution.  

Safeguards for Persons Reporting Suspected Fraud

The Agency takes all allegations of fraud seriously, including providing disclosers with adequate support and confidentiality. If you provide a service under a Commonwealth contract, the protections and immunities of the Public Interest Disclosure (PID) scheme may be available to you.

Information on the PID scheme is available from the Commonwealth Ombudsman website. Informants wishing to make a disclosure under PID are encouraged to contact the Agency to ensure PID protections are applicable.

Privacy Notice

Your personal information is protected by law, including the Privacy Act 1988, and is collected by the Agency for the purposes of investigating allegations of suspected fraud.

If the information you provide does not relate to the activities or functions of the Agency, we may disclose the information to other Commonwealth, state or territory bodies (including law enforcement bodies) for appropriate assessment or action.

Your information may also be used by the Agency or given to other parties if it is required or authorised by law.

For more information about how the Agency manages personal information (including information on accessing or correcting information) and how to make a complaint, please view our full privacy policy or you can request a copy from the Agency by contacting:


Post: The Privacy Officer, National Emergency Management Agency, GPO Box 133, CANBERRA ACT 2601.

Fraud and Scams Form