The scam you could become a victim of without realising

It’s hard to believe it’s already July, and we’re in a new financial year, and the second half of 2016.

It’s hard to believe it’s already July, and we’re in a new financial year, and the second half of 2016. Unfortunately this is the perfect time for scammers to attempt to take our money. One of the most well-known scams in Australia’s history is back for tax time, reports the ABC.

According to callers to 612 ABC Brisbane, phone scammers had told them there would be a warrant for their arrest if they did not pay.

This year alone, victims have lost more than $800,000 due to the ATO scam across Australia.

Delia Rickard, deputy chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), told the ABC that people need to be very cautious of any phone call.

“This is a really nasty scam that’s doing the rounds,” she told 612 ABC Brisbane’s Steve Austin.

“We’ve had more than 11,000 reports to Scamwatch about this ATO arrest scam this week.”

Ms Rickard said the phone number being used looked like a local number but came from overseas, and revealed one of the scammers’ telephone numbers was 02 6100 3027.

“Scammers are using voice over internet protocol (VoIP) to make these calls, but they usually appear as a Sydney or Melbourne number,” she said.

“If the ATO does contact people, they are not threatening and are not harassing you saying that they’ll arrest you that day.

“If you get one of these calls and are in doubt, just hang up.”

“They usually target older Australians that are home during the day who still have a landline,” Ms Rickard said.

“It makes them more susceptible to scams.”

As we know, it’s tax time and time to put in our tax refunds, so a call from someone purporting to be from the ATO doesn’t seem so far-fetched.

“Scammers try and get consumers to click through to a site that looks like the ATO and asks for personal information and then they’ll ask you to pay a fee to get back the money,” Ms Rickard said.

“The ATO or other financial institutions will not ask you to pay for money that is yours so just hit delete on the email.

“The best thing to do is let the ACCC know through Scamwatch”.

According to Scamwatch, the scammers may tell you a very convincing lie about why an arrest warrant has been issued, including that you have failed to pay taxes.

Scammers typically ask for money to be sent via wire transfer because it’s very difficult to recover if reported. They may also ask for people’s financial and other personal details to access their money and use this information to commit other types of fraud.

So what should you do if you receive a call from someone who says they are from the ATO? Hang up, and don’t respond. If you really want to know if you’re in trouble, call ATO directly.

You can report scams to the ACCC via the SCAMwatch report a scam page or by calling 1300 795 995.

Tell us, have you ever been the victim of a scam? What happened?

  1. Cathy Howat  

    How stupid would you have to be to fall for something as obvious as this?

    • Jullow  

      Not stupid Cathy, just unaware of how easy scams can be and/or trusting that people are who they say they are. Even careful people can get caught out sometimes.

      • I got one of these they do sound threatening we need to talk to family members young an old to make them aware

  2. Marj Ensbey  

    Hubby received one last Fri. He panicked but didn’t reply thank goodness but it was frightening for him. He us 72.

  3. I got a call….trying to tell me that the ATO had money for me…..
    We even know your address…and name. Wonderful..I said…when you can tell me my TFN I’ll listen to you….and I hung up.
    I ring in my tax claim each year
    After working out my dividends!

  4. Have had 3calls saying I owe money and threatening bailiffs and jail if I do not pay my tax debts. I hang up and delete message. They are persistent though

  5. Jenny Goldberg  

    Yes we had the phone scam saying that there was a warrant out for our arrest for tax evasion and a contact number – they even had the cheek to leave a message on our answer phone with a number.
    My husband laughed and I rang the number which rang and rang and finally answered by someone with a think accent saying ahhhhh oh ATO – very convincing – not!!!!!!!
    What I don’t understand how do they get money from people and who would pay someone without first checking with ATO.

  6. Terri Rice  

    I received one of these through on my mobile about 7 weeks ago ( don’t know how they got my number as there only a few people I give it to ). Unfortunately I wasn’t near when the phone rang so it went to voicemail. Probably just as well really as I would have told them to go take a long walk off a short pier &/ or, go forth & multiply ( but in the language we know it by ) followed by my lovely loud whistle that is kept near the phone to salute these unwanted scammers each time they try their nasty tricks.

  7. the same is happening in New Zealand . I got a call numbers showing up as 01900 4964 988729, the number to return call 098873904 to discuss tax fraud , the 1st number I googled it appears to be originating from India

  8. Wendy Mulligan  

    We received FOUR calls within an hour last Friday, my husband answered three and told them to “f” off and hung up each time. I received the 4th call and this guy was very convincing even when I told him I am retired and have been for a few years now. He said under a new law I had to lodge a tax return anyway! I told him where to go and even told him that they had already tried this 3 times previously and then I hung up. No more calls since.(touch wood). I can understand how an older person would be taken in as they are very threatening and I was told that I had better have a good criminal lawyer as they were going to court in 30 mins! Please don’t listen to these mongrels!

  9. Dr Neville Dawson  

    I had such a call this morning – the man’s accent was very Indian or Pakistani and he told me He was speaking on behalf of the Australian tax office and that I have not paid my tax return and I was going to be fined. I told him that the tax department only contact me through the mail and could he please tell me what my tax file number is? He could not.
    I told him I knew he was a scam man and that I would call the police- he quickly hung up.

  10. Lucky I hang up had 3 calls from so called tax department , don’t trust anyone with phone calls

  11. Dee Cee  

    My dear 83 yo father was rung & they left a message the same as above, checky leaving a number to call back. I took the message & rang to give them a piece of my mind. No one ever answered!! My Father, or anyone, at this age should not have mungrels like this trying to scare him! Thanks for the article:)

  12. Faye Dapiran  

    I had a phone call on my landline last week, well they left a message which is amazing. It was a female with a southern European accent. She was very threatening and rude, and said that she was from the ATO and I was being investigated for tax fraud, and there would be legal action taken if I didn’t call them back immediately. She left a Sydney number, and said it 3 times. She also said that I was totally responsible for this,no one else, and I would be charged if I did not call back immediately. I gave me a start for a minute, as I am often late with my tax [I have a tax agent who does it], but of course I realised it was a scam. They didn’t use my name either. I actually rang my financial person, who said that he had quite a few clients who had received similar calls to this.

    • I only have a mobile phone. When ever it rings i only answer if i recognise the number. I then google the number, if it looks ok i will call back. It is surprising the number of times i don’t call back

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