5 July 2017: Authorities are reminding members of the public about ongoing scams threatening people with immediate arrest due to their “unpaid tax”. South Australia Police (SAPOL) today warned scammers often have sufficient personal information that make them very convincing to potential victims.
“In some cases they are leaving an automated voice message or appear to be calling from genuine ATO phone numbers,” SAPOL said in a statement today afternoon.
SAPOL said they continue to receive reports from people who have been affected by scammers claiming to work for the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and threatening people with arrest for outstanding payments.
Through its Twitter account, Consumer Affairs Victoria yesterday reassured people that ATO would never “threaten you with immediate arrest” and released below voice record.
— Consumer Affairs Vic (@consumervic) July 4, 2017
“Given that it is the end of financial year, a large number of people are starting to lodge their tax returns making these scammers particularly active,” SAPOL’s Detective Senior Sergeant Andrew Bolingbroke (Major Fraud Investigation Section) was quoted as saying.
Mr Bolingbroke urged community members to talk about these scams with friends, family and neighbours who may be vulnerable or less savvy to this type of approach.
“It can be very intimidating for anyone, particularly for an elderly person to be threatened with arrest, or with tax evasion, so it is important that they are aware of this scam and simply hang up the phone,” the Detective Senior Sergeant advised.
SAPOL have below bullet-point advice which it said is relevant to all State and Commonwealth agencies and for all types of scams. ATO will never:
* threaten you with immediate arrest
* ask you to pay money to receive a refund or payment
* ask you to pay a debt via iTunes cards or vouchers, or pre-paid credit card or store gift cards
* ask you to provide personal information, such as your tax file number (TFN) or credit card number, via email or SMS
* ask you to pay money into a personal bank account or through money remitters
* direct you to download files from the internet, or open attachments in unsolicited emails
* ask you to assist with being involved in a “sting” or “undercover operation” to help apprehend tax scammers.
If you receive a call of this nature or a recorded message left on your answering machine:
* do not engage with the caller
* terminate the call
* contact the ATO on 1800 008 540 or stated agency on an independently verified number
* report to ScamWatch or your local police