What is it?
Australian consumers are warned that there is a very aggressive tax scam in operation.
Fake callers claiming to be from the Australian Tax Office (ATO) will call you at random at home. The purpose of the call is to force people to pay a fake debt over the phone.
What are they saying?
The caller will claim that they have an arrest warrant for you and in order to resolve the matter you will need to pay a fee. In conjunction with this, they may tell you that they will offer a tax rebate/refund once having made the payment. They may also claim that if payment is not received then they will possess your house and possessions with Police intervention.
They may also ask you to provide bank account details and your personal information.
How is it done?
The scammers will give you a call or leave a phone message asking you to call back on 02 6100 3027. This appears to be an Australian local number, however may actually be a VOIP number leading to an overseas connection.
Part of their conversation technique is to use abrupt, threatening and rude words to intimidate you to take action and will resort to becoming ‘very irate’ if you do not comply.
They will ask you to wire transfer the money direct to them – once this is done then there is virtually no resource to recover your money.
If you give out any personal and/or bank details, these may be used to withdraw funds direct from your bank account or commit identity theft.
How to protect yourself?
If you receive a phone call claiming to be from the ATO and saying that they have an arrest warrant for you, then immediately hang up.
If you receive a message asking you to call 02 6100 3027 then just delete it.
Identify any callers through your own investigations (phone book/internet etc), not through numbers or information that they have given you.
Most importantly, be vigilant and never ever send any money via a wire transfer service to anyone you do not know and or trust. Never give out your personal and or bank details to anyone you do not know or trust. If you think you may have given your details then please contact your bank immediately.
The ATO makes thousands of calls every week but would never contact a taxpayer about a debt in a threatening manner.
Scams can be reported to the ACCC via the SCAMwatch report a scam page or by calling 1300 795 995.
Further information can be read at the ATO website.
Mark Krywienko – New Clients Manager
Disclaimer: This article contains general information. Before you make any financial or investment decision you should seek professional advice to take into account your individual objectives, financial situation and individual needs.
Information for this article was sourced from Scamwatch, the Sydney Morning Herald and the ATO.