It’s nearly tax time - and the scams have returned

CLARENCE Valley residents are being warned not to fall for an Australian Tax Office scam doing the rounds in Yamba.

Yamba police station Sergeant Darren Williams said local officers had taken at least two phone calls from concerned community members this week, who had received calls and voice mail messages from the scammers.

His message?

Be wary of anybody contacting you and saying they are from the ATO, and never give out personal details over the phone or online.

“It appears some of the phone calls are quite menacing, and to the elderly and uneducated they can be quite threatening,” Sergeant Williams said.

“They told one lady she needed to ring them back immediately or there would be severe consequences.

“We just want to get the message out that it’s not the ATO ringing them. It’s a fraud and it’s a scam.”

The officer said the phone number the scammers were using, 028 8800 2254, was quite clearly a Skype number, but not instantly recognisable to people who don’t use the application.

Not a new concept, ATO scams crop up around tax time every year and usually involve a phone call to a landline or mobile, telling people there are ‘errors in their tax return which may lead to their arrest, or that they have been taxed too much and are eligible for a refund.

Other scam strategies including offering schemes to reduce your tax into retirement, or that you have been chosen for a business grant.

Most of these calls result in the scammers asking for money.

According to the Australian Tax Office website, the ATO may contact people by phone from time to time, but people should be wary of unsolicited phone calls claiming to be from the ATO and offering you a tax refund.

“Increasingly, we are seeing these scams using names and addresses that have some correlation to actual ATO officers and buildings,” it reads.

“We advise taxpayers to be vigilant when receiving phone calls of this nature.”

If in doubt about the authenticity of a call that you receive from the ATO, phone 1800 008 540.

To report a scam of any kind, phone SCAMwatch on 1300 795 995 or go to www.scamwatch.gov.au.



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