Scam warning, another victim of ATO tax scam, SA

SA Police are reminding the public to be vigilant with regard to scam calls and online frauds centred around tax at this time of year after a second person became a victim of an ‘ATO’ scam yesterday, according to SA Police.

A man from Meningie was duped of an amount of money after receiving a call from scammers claiming to work for the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). the man was allegedly threatened with arrest for outstanding payments before the scammers requested he withdraw money from a bank and purchase Apple iTunes gift cards.

Of note, the callers often have sufficient personal information to be very convincing; however SA Police remind community members that government agencies do NOT seek payments – even when ‘urgent’ – in form of iTunes cards.

“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,” SA Police Detective Senior Sergeant Andrew Bolingbroke, from the Major Fraud Investigation Section.

“We are urging the community to talk about these type of scams with friends, family and neighbours whom 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.”

Police wish to once again remind the public that the 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.
(This advice is relevant to all State and Commonwealth agencies and for all types of scams).
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

/Public Release. The material in this public release comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length.