Scammers posing as the Australian Tax Office robbed Australians of $800,000 in November alone.
The scam, which sees fraudsters pretend to be the Australian Tax Office (ATO) over the phone and demand payment, saw one elderly woman lose a staggering $236,000.
And more and more Australians are receiving the calls.
Got a robocall from “the ATO” saying that I faced “arrest” regarding an outstanding tax bill and needed to “Press 1” to be transferred directly to an operator to sort it out. Scams are getting more an more elaborate every day.
— Adam Liaw (@adamliaw) November 7, 2018
So today I got a scam call from the ATO Investigation Unit for tax fraud and if I didn’t call them back a warrant for my arrest would be issued and the police would come arrest me. I literally freaked out cause I’ve never had a call like it. Long… https://t.co/Di4ZdbTsHa
— Sophia Marie (@sophiamariesmus) December 21, 2018
I just got one of those fake ATO scamming calls about my tax. It was a robotic male voice. Biggest scam out there but I can see why people fall for it.
— мatt | (@MattLXS) December 14, 2018
What does it sound like?
Yahoo Finance received the scam phone call today and recorded the second portion in which scammers posing as members of the ‘audit office’ threaten arrest.
What should I be aware of?
- The ATO will not display a number using caller ID. If you receive a call purportedly from the ATO but which displays a number, you’re right to be suspicious.
- The ATO will not threaten you with arrest, jail or deportation and will not speak to taxpayers aggressively.
In other versions of the scam, swindlers request payment of a fake tax debt via iTunes, cryptocurrency, pre-paid visa cards or direct credit to a fake ATO bank account.
The ATO’s BSBs are 092-009 and 093-003. If someone is requesting payment to an account that is neither of those, it’s a scam.
And in other versions, scammers will request a fee to process a fake refund owed, while others will ask users to click on a link or download an attachment. In doing so, victims may expose their personal information or leave the door open for vicious malware to hack the computer.
“If you suspect that you have been contacted by a scammer, you should contact our call centre. It’s OK to hang up and phone us on 1800 008 540 to check if the call was legitimate or to report a scam,” ATO assistant commissioner Kath Anderson said.
“While phone scams are the most common at the moment, scammers are constantly changing tactics. Taxpayers should still beware of unsolicited emails and SMS, with more than 6000 people handing over their personal or financial information to scammers since July this year.”
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