Police warning: the cruel new phone scam targeting Australians 180



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This new scam – the latest of many – comes as a strong reminder to all Australians: always be wary of the power of a manipulative phone call.

According to The Age, multiple people in Victoria have recently fallen victim to a scammer claiming to be from the Australian Taxation Office.

The caller will claim an arrest warrant has been issued against them for their outstanding debts – a huge shock that immediately puts the victim on the defensive.

The scammer will ask victims to go to a post office to pay off the debt via wire transfer – a payment method where it’s almost impossible to recover lost funds.

Victorian Police have issued a warning for those in the Maroondah and Yarra Valley areas, where victims have already lost thousands of dollars – but it’s a valuable warning to all Australians.

This is just one of many recent phone scams trying to scare us with the dreaded words “arrest warrant” or “legal action”. This fear tactic can be startlingly offensive, with the shock stopping victims from using the healthy scepticism they might otherwise have.

Scamwatch advises that the initial contact can sometimes come through an automated answering machine message asking for a call back. This may sound automated message by somebody with an American accent.

As always, the usual warning prevails: if you have any call from an organisation in authority, but no way to verify the truth of what they’re saying, call them directly yourself, via an official number you have already verified.

If in doubt about an Australian Tax Office call, you can contact them directly on 13 28 61. You can also view a helpful list of known scams – phone and email – on the ATO website.

Of course, scammers have no shortage of other ways to snatch away Australians’ money. This comes hot on the heels of a resurgence in ATM scams, as reported yesterday. A whole new wave of card skimming has been reported in the area from the Sunshine Coast to northern NSW.

If you have any information about these scams, please contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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  1. I’ve been waiting for this one so I can play with them. Damn, maybe they are avoiding me. Seriously, if I get a automated call asking me to call back …. won’t happen.

  2. This is not a new SCAM it has been around for a while now, I can’t believe that people don’t ask for a phone number that they can call back on to confirm who these people are. For starters they do NOT CALL YOUR HOME, they will send you a letter on their LETTER HEAD and ask you to call them.

    1 REPLY
    • II had this call about 2 months ago. He had an indian accent. I asked for his number and he hung up. But it does give you a fright.

  3. easy answer … which works … I ‘m quite shocked you are ringing me and suggest you contact my accountant, you have the details in the file in front of you. Give me your contact details and I’ll get my lawyer to sort out the legal issues for you. … 100% guarantee, they hang up every time.

  4. Use common sense, if the Bank or any company does not normally call you, then hang up without giving them any personal information and ring the company yourself. If it is legitimate they will tell you.

  5. This scam has been reported in the Toowoomba area recently as well. Remember contact like this, if official, will usually be by mail. The latest I have heard is caller saying you may have been in an accident and wanting details.

    3 REPLY
    • Genuine debt collectors for ATO do use phone to contact you after you are late paying your debt. Best thing is to call ATO and check whether you have any outstanding debts.

    • I had a woman, with a heavy accent, ring me & told me I had had an accident & when I told her I had not she then went on to tell me that someone in my family had had an accident . I don’t have any family so I made it a game with her & frustrated all her moves. In the end she told me she had the wrong number. Problem fixed 😄

  6. About three weeks ago we got one of these calls from some idiot claiming to be from the ATO and that we had fraudulently claimed tax benefits. Our tax is prepared by an accounting firm so I knew immediately that something was amiss. I simply told the caller to F..of and hung up. End of story.

  7. A lot if the ones who fall for it are the elderly who have always paid their bills and usually aren’t FB savvy . They believe that if some says they are from the ATO then they must be . It would be nice if the government sent out to every aged pensioner , a letter advising of such scans m’s and giving them a number to ring . It’s cruel doing this sort of thing but the scammers are just faecal matter !!!!

  8. I had one of these calls a few months ago,plus another that a family member had been in an accident.They seem to be calling about something most days.Now as soon as I realize it’s them I hang up

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