New scam warning issued: beware! 165



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A fresh warning has been issued today about a scam that threatens everyday Australians, causes a lot of grief and could cost you a lot of money.

Via Facebook, the Australian Taxation Office has reached out to Australians with this message:

SCAM ALERT: if fraudsters pretending to be from the ATO call and threaten to audit you, hang up. These calls are not from the ATO.

They may say ‘the ATO will come to your home address to do an audit between 10am and midday the following day, unless tax payments are made immediately’. Do not make payment.

Share with family and friends to keep them safe. Find information about how to verify or report a scam at…/On…/How-to-verify-or-report-a-scam/

Facebook users commenting on the post have shed some light on just how the scam operates, providing us with valuable information to protect ourselves.

A man called Matt writes, “Hi I have had 2 phone calls from what is believed to be the ATO over the last 2 days from 2 different numbers saying that I am being sued by the ATO and that I am being taken to court!!! Should I be concerned or is it a hoax?”

Sammi tell him, “It’s the same scam as above.”

Matt replies, “God I hope so as all it is is a pre-recorded message if you answer.”

Linda confirms: “It’s a hoax. I have received the same call. The number is from another country, it’s not an Australian number that comes up.”

Rachel tell him: “The ATO phone numbers are private.”

SCAM ALERT: if fraudsters pretending to be from the ATO call and threaten to audit you, hang up. These calls are not…

Posted by Australian Taxation Office on Thursday, October 8, 2015

Other people commenting on the post showed that this scam is all too real:

Georgia wrote: “I had several messages left saying I was being sued and the police were coming to arrest me and when I actually spoke to the person told him it was a scam and I was reporting him – no more calls.”

Helen says, “Had one of these. Tell you there is an arrest warrant out in you name. They hang up when you say you will arrange a meeting with the auditor at your accountant’s office. They sound very real at the beginning though and throw you off guard!”

The ATO has very detailed information on its website about scams. They say, “From time to time we may contact you by phone, but you should be wary of unsolicited phone calls claiming to be from the ATO and offering you a tax refund. Increasingly, we are seeing these scams using names and addresses that have some correlation to actual ATO officers and buildings. We advise taxpayers to be vigilant when receiving phone calls of this nature.”

The office is wise to this scam, describing it below:

“You are called on either your private home or mobile number by a person claiming to be from the ATO. You are told that due to ’errors’ on your tax return, a warrant has been issued for your arrest and the police will be called unless you attend the local post office and make an immediate payment. A variation of this scam asks you to purchase a ‘Load and Go’ card.

Key indicators of this scam:

  • Cold calling (unsolicited call)
  • You are advised that there is a warrant for your arrest
  • The callers use an aggressive tone
  • You are asked to make a payment without having received any prior advice or correspondence from the ATO
  • You are asked to make a payment without being provided with a personal payment slip.

If in doubt call the ATO on 13 28 61.

Have you been the victim of a scam or have you had a near miss? Share your experiences so others can be aware. 

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  1. We had one of these recently in our message bank. We never for a second thought it was for real. There are so many scams out there.

  2. Happened to a pal in Mayfield nSW this week – guy ringing had American accent – said my friend would be arrested the next day if he didnt give his personal details to the caller

  3. Had this one on answering machine: an aggressive female with an American accent. Reminded me of serious consequences of tax evasion, and left message to ring ATO helpline.

  4. How do they get your phone number is my question. I haven’t had my current number very long, yet I’m constantly getting calls from insurance companies trying to sell me life and funeral insurance. Where are they getting the number?

    3 REPLY
    • Most of the call centres sit telephonists down with numbers of a certain area. Say landline 02 4261____.They then go through that number from 42610000 and on through the sequence till all numbers are finished. It’s how they get even private numbers.

    • Mine is a mobile, but I get your point. What a boring job, not to mention the abuse they must get

  5. Sorry to tell you this is not a new scam, and the best way to handle it is to put your handset down and walk away as it leaves the phone line open and they can’t make any calls, also as they are usually from overseas they end up with a hefty bill, serves them right.

    3 REPLY
    • No that’s not right! If the “caller” hangs up…end of call! Only if the “caller” leaves the line open (doesn’t hang up) does it stop the receiver from being able to make any calls. Even then I think the line would drop out after a time.

    • I let my 13 yr old grandson answer the phone. He wound them up for me. It amused him immensely and they didnt ring back for ages.

    • That’s correct Pamela, it’s only the person that has made the call that can keep the line open not the person receiving the call.

  6. I had two messages left on my answering would think they would use someone with an Australian accent to make it sound a little believable at least. .I laughed through the whole message as it was so fake

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