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Canberrans fleeced by scam ATO calls

By Charlotte Harper - 19 January 2016 7

phone scam
If you receive a call or email out of the blue from someone claiming to represent the Australian Tax Office and saying that you are entitled to or owe money – hang up or delete the email.

Several Canberrans have lost large sums of money, from tens of thousands to over $100,000, in telephone scams of this nature over the past month.

ACT Policing is investigating a number of incidents where Canberrans have been defrauded by telephone scammers claiming to represent the ATO.

Criminal Investigations Manager Response Sergeant Marcus Boorman said many of the incidents involved a similar approach.

“Often the call comes from what appears to be an Australian phone number and the person claims to be from the ATO. They say that the victim must repay a tax debt. They may also threaten arrest if the victims don’t pay up,” Sergeant Boorman said.

“They’ll often ask victims to pay by money transfer or provide their credit card details. It’s incredibly difficult to get your money back once you’ve been scammed, so we hope that by raising awareness we can prevent more of these incidents from happening.”

“We’re also hoping members of the public will spread the word to their friends and families, particularly if they know someone who would be vulnerable to this type of scam. The more people know about how these scams work, the more likely they’ll recognise a scammer calling.”

You can check whether they’re the real deal by calling the ATO on its official number: 13 28 61.

Report scams to the ACCC via www.scamwatch.gov.au or by calling 1300 795 995. If you’ve been defrauded, you can report it to police on 13 14 44.

Police remind readers they should not report crime information on ACT Policing Facebook or Twitter pages.

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7 Responses to
Canberrans fleeced by scam ATO calls
OpenYourMind 7:02 am 23 Jan 16

screaming banshee said :

justin heywood said :

Imagine the mindset of these scammers. Making hundreds of phone calls every day, sounding polite and professional, looking for that one person to prey on: usually the elderly or otherwise vulnerable.
The lowest of the low.

The ‘scammers’ are typically lowly paid call centre staff reading from a script, they have no idea how legitimate or illegitimate the calls are.

And that makes them different from the ATO call centre staff in what way exactly??

screaming banshee 7:29 pm 19 Jan 16

justin heywood said :

Imagine the mindset of these scammers. Making hundreds of phone calls every day, sounding polite and professional, looking for that one person to prey on: usually the elderly or otherwise vulnerable.
The lowest of the low.

The ‘scammers’ are typically lowly paid call centre staff reading from a script, they have no idea how legitimate or illegitimate the calls are.

Blen_Carmichael 6:22 pm 19 Jan 16

Me: “Where did you say you were calling from?”

A): “The Australian Taxation Office in Canberra”

Me: “What is the address of the building, please?”

A): “Um, 1 Canberra Square”.

Me: Click.

HenryBG 3:20 pm 19 Jan 16

Some joker at the ATO had a regular wheeze whereby every year s/he was adding me to some list and sending out to me *on Christmas Eve* a completely spurious demand for money.

I treated it with the contempt it deserved and by late January every year they had a debt collection firm ringing me up warning me of dire consequences if I didn’t pay up. So I’d pay, just as per the scam above.

Then, by April, they would quietly slip the money back in my bank account following a “review”. Year after year.

Anyway, the point is the ATO certainly does outsource its debt collection to dodgy-sounding english-as-a-second-language debt collectors who would ask you for your credit card number to pay off the debt.

justin heywood 2:06 pm 19 Jan 16

Imagine the mindset of these scammers. Making hundreds of phone calls every day, sounding polite and professional, looking for that one person to prey on: usually the elderly or otherwise vulnerable.
The lowest of the low.

Ghettosmurf87 10:54 am 19 Jan 16

It’s a bit worrying that people are still giving out their credit card details to people making unsolicited phone calls. No major organisation operates in that way, yet people are still hopelessly gullible and free with their personal information.

Grimm 9:33 am 19 Jan 16

Probably the same people who fall for the “I am from the Microsoft, and your computer is having a virus” scam.

Fools and their money…

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