New phone scam alert involving fake Australian Taxation Office 44



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Be aware, there’s a new phone scam happening around the country, with callers pretending to be from the Australian Taxation Office.

The scammers are of course trying to trap you at a time when you might be preparing your tax for the financial year just ended.

Recently an 81-year-old man in Western Australia, who looks after his sick wife, lost $110,000 to scammers demanding money. He was also threatened with jail time, and that his three children would lose their jobs. In Western Australia alone this scam has reportedly seen people lose $157,000 to scammers.

These calls are not restricted to Western Australians – this scam is being attempted Australia-wide.

ATO second commissioner Geoff Leeper has said that the ATO will never cold call anyone demanding money. “We would never cold call you about a debt, we would never threaten jail or arrest, and our staff certainly wouldn’t behave in an aggressive manner”, he said.

If you do receive a call as described, hang up immediately. If you’re still concerned, call the ATO direct on 13 28 69.

Has a scammer ever tried to trick you by phone or email? What did you do?

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission, responsible for protecting consumers and small businesses from scams, has this further advice should you receive calls like this:

  • If you receive a phone call or email out of the blue from someone claiming to be a government department telling you about an arrest warrant, hang up.
  • If you have any doubts about the identity of any caller who claims to represent a government department, contact the body directly. Don’t rely on numbers, email addresses or websites provided by the caller – find them through an independent source such as a phone book or online search.
  • Never send any money via wire transfer to anyone you do not know or trust.
  • Never give your personal, credit card or online account details over the phone unless you made the call and the phone number came from a trusted source. If you think you have provided your account details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately.

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  1. I got a call supposedly from the ATO telling me that I would be arrested for tax evasion and fraud unless I rang the given number asap.I rang the ato directly and was told of this scam.

  2. I mostly just hang up, but if I’m in a foul mood, I drop a four letter word and tell them that I know they’re liars. Bloody pests; every evening without fail they ring!

    1 REPLY
    • Sonia I got in touch with Telstra and had my phone number go private and on my hands free phone it shows up if it’s an overseas call or if it’s from over East have three friends live in the East know there numbers so I just hang up haven’t had many calls since having the silent number.

  3. I had an email supposedly from the ATO telling me that my husband was entitled to a refund AFTER he had already paid, and telling me I was entitled to a refund AFTER I had already received it. I ignored the email and have heard nothing further.

  4. This scam has been going on for some time. Whatever you do – DON’T be intimidated into paying even a rusty razoo and NEVER give personal information of any sort.
    As a former Tax office employee, I’m very keen to see this scam fail as often as possible.
    To that end, I have arranged a community announcement on TYGA-FM 98.9 designed to warn listeners against it.
    The text of the announcement is:

    Listeners are warned of a telephone scam, whereby people are told they owe money to the Australian Tax Office.
    A person claiming to be from the tax office, states that due to tax return “errors,” an arrest warrant has been issued and police will be notified unless an immediate payment is made.

    Key indicators of this scam are:
    – The call is received, without you having had prior written contact from the Tax Office;
    – You are advised there is a warrant for your arrest
    – The caller uses an aggressive and intimidating tone
    If you receive a call like this, do not make any payment, nor give any personal information. Report the call to Scamwatch on 1300 795 995 or, online at

    Other SaS readers involved with other community radio stations are welcome to copy.

  5. Very recently. One was tax and other was AGL power. Most annoying and scary cos they were very clever.

    2 REPLY
    • Yeah I know this and I wasn’t. I was thinking of those vulnerable to this stuff cos it was so well done. Ray Hewitt Valley Sunrise thanks.

  6. We gave up our Telstra home phone we were so sick of all the Trevor’s and Shirley’s with Indian accents trying to scam us. Reported it several times to Telstra but it never stopped.

    1 REPLY
    • They are a pain Linda, drive us insane. We haven’t had any for a while, but I did once say I was too busy at the time to take their call and could I ring them back, asked for his number and he hung up!

  7. You are absolutely correct, Starts at 60. The Australian Taxation Office is a fake…. 🙁

  8. I bought an umpires whistle, used it once blew it into the phone, they don’t call me anymore lol

    1 REPLY
    • That’s a great trick Kaylene. We used it when we were young women living together & occasionally got obscene phone calls.

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