Scammers are a common problem these days, whether its by phone, email, post or knocking on your front door. They will try anything. Lately Pender Accounting Group has been receiving, a higher than usual, amount of calls regarding the legitimacy of emails and phone calls. We urge all our clients to keep their personal information secure and to report any suspicious activity immediately. Information like bank account details, tax file numbers or your date of birth are keys to your identity, and can be used by scammers to break into your life.
November 2017 Phone Scam – Fake Debts
ATO impersonation scam recorded messages are continuing throughout Australia. An example of a message claiming to be from the ATO;
‘This call is to inform you that there has been a lawsuit filed against you concerning tax evasion, this case is about to get registered in the Commonwealth courthouse of your territory. So before things go wrong or before the police from the local police department approach you and issue a warrant for your arrest, kindly call us back on 02XXXXXXXX. I repeat my telephone number again which is 02XXXXXXXX. Again this is XXXXX from the Australian Taxation Office. Thank you and you have a wonderful day.’
The message may be a female or male robotic voice recording. They claim to be from or representing the ATO, often the ATO Tax Crime and Investigation Unit or the AFP.
The number they provide is not a valid number from the ATO Phone us page.
Other indicators to look for are:
- Advise a complaint has been made against you and you are committing tax fraud or claim that you have to pay a debt that you know nothing about
- Threaten immediate arrest or court if you don’t pay straight away. They won’t provide explanations or allow you to ask questions about the debt and often get aggressive or abusive
- They will ask you to pay using unusual methods of payment that the ATO does not use, such as iTunes, Bitcoin, store gift cards or pre-paid visa cards
- People have reported receiving phone calls with the offer of a tax refund. They request credit card details for the funds to be deposited into. Instead, the scammer steals funds from these cards without your knowledge. The ATO DOES NOT issue refunds to credit cards
It’s OK to hang up!
Scammers are emailing people to tell them to claim their tax refund online. But how do you know if it’s real? If the email does not address you by name, offers you money you weren’t expecting or asks you to download a form then it’s a scam. Only the following email address from the ATO are legitimate;
If you are concerned about any emails or phone calls received regarding tax or business please contact our office and talk to Nicholas Pender.
You can also contact the ATO scam hotline on 1800 008 540 to make a report.