Tax scammers on the line

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TAX time is also scam time for thieves trying to intimidate people into handing over bank or credit card details to pay a fictitious tax debt.

Scammers have been calling people throughout the Frankston and Mornington Peninsula area this month claiming to represent the Australian Taxation Office.

The pre-recorded call falsely claims the recipient of the call owes money to the ATO and a warrant will be issued for the person’s arrest if they do not call the scammer back on a phone number provided.

Some people may also receive an email making the same threat.

Frankston CIU Senior Sergeant Steve Fyfe confirmed the calls are a scam. “People shouldn’t hand over their financial details to any unsolicited callers,” he said.

The ATO says the “fake tax debt” phone scam is the most common way scammers try to con people to hand over money.

“The ATO regularly sends emails and SMS messages and we make lots of calls each week but you should be wary if you weren’t expecting to be contacted by us,” ATO assistant commissioner Kath Anderson said.

The ATO will never threaten anyone with arrest, jail or deportation in a call and will not request payment of “a debt” via iTunes, prepaid Visa cards or cryptocurrency.

A fee is never charged to release a tax refund.

Any emails sent from the ATO will not ask to click on a link to provide login and personal details.

See scamwatch.gov.au online to keep up to date with scams and alerts.

First published in the Southern Peninsula News – 7 August 2018

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