Australians are being warned against scam phone calls that appear to be from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), Services Australia or the Department of Legal Services.
The purposes of these phone calls is to trick unsuspecting victims into handing over their personal and banking details, the ATO said on its website.
“These automated calls claim their tax file number (TFN) has been suspended and that there is a legal case against their name.
“The call tells people they must contact the caller by pressing '1' or they will be referred to the court and arrested.”
Pressing one may lead to contact with the scammer, who advises victims their TFN has been suspended because they have several allegations of money laundering or fraud against their name.
Victims are then asked to hand over the last four digits of their TFN address, date of birth, name of their bank account, and the amount of money in the account.
“Sometimes the scammer will ‘transfer’ the victim to the ‘police’ where they're told a case has been filed against them and they will be arrested unless they pay. Sometimes they advise the victim will receive mail to their home or that their bank accounts will be closed,” the ATO said.
“If you receive this call hang up and do not provide the information requested.”
Also read: What can I claim on tax this year?
The ATO will never send you pre-recorded messages over the phone or threaten you with immediate arrest.
If you want to be sure it’s the ATO calling you, hang up and call them back on 1800 008 540.
“Scammers are constantly developing new ways to steal from the community and will often try to take advantage of people when they are most vulnerable.”
Let your friends and family about the scam to prevent them from falling victim to it, the ATO added.