ATO Phone Scam
The Australian Taxation Office is warning everyone to be on the lookout as scammers experiment with new techniques.
“In the last couple of years, not only have we seen a significant increase in the number of scams reported but also the different types of approaches used by fraudsters,” ATO Assistant Commissioner Graham Whyte said.
“Most Australians are pretty good at catching fraudsters in the act,” Mr Whyte said. We encourage people to continue to be vigilant and to protect their personal information by keeping it private.”
Mr Whyte said the ATO had been receiving reports of a variation of the aggressive phone call, where callers impersonating ATO officers demand payment via iTunes gift cards and prepaid Visa gift cards purchased from supermarkets and department stores.
“We will never request the payment of a tax debt via gift or prepaid cards such as iTunes and Visa cards. Nor will we ask for direct credit to be paid to a personal bank account,” he said.
“Someone calls the taxpayer claiming to be from the ATO and stating that the taxpayer has an outstanding debt which needs to be paid immediately in order to avoid a tax audit, issue of bailiffs or police arrest.
“We would never cold call you about a debt, we would never threaten jail or arrest, and our staff certainly wouldn’t behave in an aggressive manner. If you’re not sure, hang up and call us back on 1800 008 540.” The ATO doesn’t chase debts in this way so any phone call like this is always a scam.
“The ‘ATO-officer’ will often leave an Australian landline number to call back on which seems to have been a very effective scam; there are multiple reports of people paying-up.”