Woman’s ATO scam warn­ing

The Riverine Herald - - NEWS -

AN ECHUCA woman is warn­ing lo­cals to be wary of scam phone calls af­ter some­one claim­ing to be from the Aus­tralian Tax­a­tion Of­fice left her a phone mes­sage threat­en­ing to is­sue a war­rant for her ar­rest if she didn’t call them back im­me­di­ately.

Al­though the call ap­peared to be from Aus­tralia, the strange 12-digit phone num­ber quickly aroused the woman’s sus­pi­cions and she hung up the phone.

‘‘Now I just want to warn peo­ple not to take these phone calls se­ri­ously,’’ she said.

Scams like these are on the rise, with more than $800,000 stolen in the past month by peo­ple pre­tend­ing to rep­re­sent the ATO.

One el­derly per­son lost more than $236,000 over just five months.

The thieves use soft­ware that re­sem­bles a le­git­i­mate phone num­ber to dis­guise their iden­ti­ties, call­ing peo­ple and de­mand­ing pay­ment for fake tax debts and threat­en­ing them with jail or de­por­ta­tion if they do not com­ply.

“The ATO does not project our num­bers us­ing caller ID. You can be con­fi­dent that if there is a num­ber dis­played in your caller ID, it isn’t the ATO,” As­sis­tant Com­mis­sioner Kath An­der­son said.

Ms An­der­son said while the ATO reg­u­larly con­tacts tax­pay­ers by phone, email and SMS, there are some tell-tale signs that it isn’t the ATO.

The ATO will not: ■ Use ag­gres­sive or rude be­hav­iour, or threaten you with ar­rest, jail or de­por­ta­tion. ■ Re­quest pay­ment of a debt via iTunes, pre-paid visa cards, cryp­tocur­rency or di­rect credit to a bank ac­count with a BSB that isn’t either 092-009 or 093-003. ■ Re­quest a fee in order to re­lease a re­fund owed to you. ■ Send you an email or SMS ask­ing you to click on a link to pro­vide lo­gin, per­sonal or fi­nan­cial in­for­ma­tion, or to down­load a file or open an at­tach­ment.

If you sus­pect you have been con­tacted by a scam­mer, phone the ATO’s ded­i­cated scam re­port­ing line on 1800 008 540.

To see ATO’s lat­est alerts and for more in­for­ma­tion visit ato.gov.au/scams

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.