The scam that is back to haunt senior Australians 164



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We thought it was gone but reports have come in this morning that this covet scam is still targeting seniors….and it’s not as easy to detect as you think.

Tasmanian Police has issued a warning this morning that an ATO scam is continuing to rip off Australians, to the tune of $400,000 in the last six months.

Switchboard operators in Tasmania  have received up to 70 calls a day from people who had been threatened by the scammers, reports the Herald Sun.

“I’ve spoken with 30 or 40 very upset and crying people,’’ said one switchboard operator.

“A lot of them were older people and they were abused over the phone. It’s a very intimidating and frightening experience.

“We always explain that it’s a scam and that the best thing to do is simply hang up.

“We ask them to warn their friends and relatives about it too”.

ACCC acting chair Delia Rickards said the scammers were targeting the older generation and that it was important to get the message out.

“They are horrendous and they are scary to people,’’ she said.

“Never use the number a scammer gives you. Call the ATO on 13 28 69 and tell them you think you’ve been scammed and ask them to check if you have a debt”

At this stage, ACCC and the police are not sure who the scammers are, but suspect they are coming from overseas.

Tasmania Police Detective Sergeant Stewart Cashion said, “If you feel intimidated or threatened by any call you receive, remember you can hang up or terminate the call”.

“Do not make any transferrals from your financial institution unless you have double or triple checked the legitimacy of the request”.

The Tasmania Police put this post on their Facebook page last week:

Please talk to your older family and friends about the Australian Tax Office telephone scam that is still doing the…

Posted by Tasmania Police on Wednesday, 26 August 2015


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  1. I have been getting emails from these people which I don’t open up as it’s quiet clearly not the tax office telling me I will be getting a refund and to click into this link on the email scam scam scam

  2. I worked at call centre for over ten years. The ATO or your bank will not ask for the things like putting money into their account etc. Never give details over the phone like bank account number or address. and a little tip. If they abuse or harass you in any way, just put the phone down on the cupboard while they are talking, without hanging up. They can’t name another call or disconnect that one till you do. If it’s not inconvenient, just leave it like that for thirty minutes before you just hang up without saying anything. It costs you nothing and deters them. If they call you in the first place, tell them you will rig ATO or Telstra is another one they use and don’t give them time to say anything. Hang up and then take phone off hook for awhile.

    5 REPLY
    • Very good advice Fran, I have done exactly that, put the phone down on the coffee table which was intended for about 20-30 minutes however in the mean time my neighbour needed me to help her and by the time I got back 3 hours had passed, Iv never been contacted since.

    • Whoever who doesn’t know how to deal with these scam should put silent number ( no more scam or any telemarketing phn call) . One would think people should know this by now !!!!!!

    • That’s not necessarily right though Jacqueline. They just virtually spin a wheel to put it simply and numbers come up so it can still be silent and come up. You can join the Do Not Call Register free through the government which stops nearly all of these calls but not quite. Be aware you need to do it ever year so it adds new ones.

    • Jacqueline Laroche I do have a private number however I still receive 1 or 2 of these calls per year and when I ask how did they get this number I’m told it was on a disk that Telstra sold them even though Telstra deny it.

      1 REPLY
      • Trish, a computer generates these numbers and when someone picks up the phone they know it’s a valid number. Silent numbers and the Government’s Do Not Call register cannot stop this type of call as most of them are from overseas anyway.

    • Telstra don’t give them any disk Trish, it is the luck of the numbers coming up together and it just clicks in. They are very smart.

  3. I received an email purporting to be from the ATO last week, and a phone call some months ago. I ignored the email, and told the caller that if they really were from the ATO they would know all my dealings are via my Tax Agent and to contact them. The caller hung up before I could.

  4. yeah got that one a month back, he told me my house was under surveillance,and he was with the federal police bla bla bla and that i owed the taxation office $8,000 so i just went along with him, he was going to help me fix the matter up, so it didn’t cost me $20,000 going through the courts, i told him it was a bad line and could he ring me back because i wanted to get the matter sorted, so i got my tape recorder and when he rang back i was on speaker phone and recording i then inquired when did this happen as i had been retired for 10 years and i wanted the details to give to my accountant. he then said the only way to get it finalized was through him i said i don’t wish to deal with you i want to speak with your superior. he said are you going to settle or do i have to now issue a warrant for your arrest,i then told him to duck off,okay he stated you will be dragged out of your home kicking and screaming…still waiting

    2 REPLY
  5. Where do these foreigners (they always are) get off. Why do they think they have a right to someone else’s hard earned money?

  6. I did get a call but as soon as he said the ATO I knew it was a scam.The ATO would not call,they would send a letter.There’s another one that’s been around a while ..they say they are from Microsoft Technical department and there is something wrong with your computer.I must admit I have a bit of fun with them,I don’t have a computer and I do not have an internet account.It’s true ,this account is my son’s account.They also claim to be from Telstra support with the same type of issue.

    6 REPLY
    • Yes Joy the Microsoft and Telstra scams have been very active if you get one of these calls switch the modem of while talking to them never log into your computer, I have had a number of customers really hurt by the Microsoft scam.

    • I’ve had a few of those calls too. Also from the ‘National Bank’ telling me that someone has been trying to hack into my account …. I played along for a bit, then told them that I don’t bank with the National. They hung up very quicly lol

    • I have had the computer scam call…I act surprised, “really? Thank you so much for letting me know that.. I shall call my computer technician and get him onto it straight away”. Then I hang up as they start to splutter..

    • Rachel Todd Thank you Rachel .My son is an IT consultant and I never do anything without his advice.

    • I love the computer ones. I play along with them for a while…. How do you know it’s my computer, what type of virus does it have?? Then I tell them I have no computer and hang up.

    • My son actually received one of these calls at work.He had a lovely time stringing the guy along and playing dumb before telling him he had called the IT office of a university,that part at least was true,lol.

  7. Local councils and telstra have a lot to answer for – selling subscriber telephone lists overseas to telemarketing companies – they were bound to be misused. My advice? Cut off your home phone and only have a mobile – these seem to be the safer option at the moment.

    4 REPLY
    • The problem is once you pick up the phone – they know someone answers – and will then flag the number as ‘active’ and they share this information with other scammers according to our service provider

      1 REPLY
      • Hi if it’s a private or o/seas call I don’t answer them and they don’t ring back

    • mostly happens when you borrow money from somewhere…hang up or put your phone down…you don’t have to cancel home phones or private numbers…just use some common sense!!

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