The ATO have released an unnerving recording of a sophisticated tax scam targeting vulnerable Australians.
The chilling audio features a computer generated voice aimed at insecure Aussies so scammers can prey on their hard earned cash.
‘Your account has been marked delinquent on account of tax avoidance,’ the robo call recording says.
‘As our letters sent to your registered address have also returned unsigned, and undelivered, resulting into a petition note to be filed against your name, including a warrant for your arrest’.
Australian Communications and Media Authority Member Fiona Cameron issued a public warning to beware of questionable activity amid their private affairs.
The ATO have warned the Australian public about several sophisticated scams going around at tax time (stock image)
‘It is tax time, and unfortunately scammers are about,’ she told Today. ‘This scam is pretty disgraceful.’
Ms Cameron said as many as 100 people could fall victim to the heartless fraudsters.
‘Your life savings can go or alternatively your identity can be stolen,’ she said.
‘And once your identity is stolen, then the scammer can go on and scam someone else in your name which is an appalling cycle of abuse.’
Scams are large-scale operations, with detectives forced to use complex software to find out where the calls come from.
Ms Cameron said Australians are more vulnerable to fraudulent activity due to being at home and connected during the coronavirus pandemic.
Australian Communications and Media Authority Member Fiona Cameron (pictured) said the public must beware of odd activity with their affairs
She said scammers often release threats like these during tax time, as fraudsters try to con people based on their needs.
‘Often in relation to the ATO-type scams they pressure you,’ Ms Cameron said.
THE ATO WILL NEVER:
– Send you an email or text message asking you to send us your information by email or text message.
– Send you an email or text message with a link to log into online services.
– Send a pre-recorded message saying the police are coming to arrest you or demanding urgent payment of money.
– Ask for payment by bank transfers to:
A bank that is not the Reserve Bank of Australia
Overseas wire transfers;
iTunes or Google Play cards;
Cardless cash transfers;
Cryptocurrency like Bitcoin.
‘They say that they are going to arrest you and say that they will go to Federal Court if you don’t pay and independent interest will compound.’
Ms Cameron said Australians must be cautious with their data online.
‘If you are not sure hang up. These people are out to get your money or your identity,’ she said.
Australians were scammed out of more than $11million in May this year thanks to a plague of fake money-making schemes.
Online phishing scams received the most reports in May, with households losing $185,000 combined, up 190 per cent from April.
A spokesperson from The Australian Tax Office said the body is concerned about the increasing number of people paying fake tax debt scammers.
‘Scammers pretending to be from the ATO are contacting members of the community, telling them that they have a tax debt and that if they don’t pay it straight away they will be arrested,’ they said.
‘These scammers will often request payment through unusual methods, such as cryptocurrency, pre-paid credit cards or gift cards, and will try to keep people on the line until they have paid.’
They urged anyone who received a phone call, text message or voicemail demanding money not to send a payment or provide personal information.
‘We will never threaten you with immediate arrest or demand payment through unusual means.’