Fake Calls from the ATO:
A number of online publications have been voicing concern and trying to raise awareness of one of Australia’s latest scams. It’s nothing new, at least not in the way it’s being carried out, but people in Melbourne are being warned to be vigilant against calls allegedly from the Australian Tax Office, claiming that that large payments are due and if no action is taken, prosecution and/or heft fines will follow.
This scam is particularly common in the Yarra Valley and Maroondah areas of Melbourne, where the elderly and those whose English isn’t fantastic are forking out thousands of dollars to the fraudsters. Luckily, most people cotton on to the fact that the call is a scam when the caller demands that the money be paid via wire transfer, but there are many who have no idea as of how the ATO should be paid, when they should pay, if they really should be paying and how much. With all of that being said, there are a number of ways that you can tell if the call is genuine… so please bear the following in mind:
- The ATO will never contact you by phone asking for outstanding fees to be paid.
- Should you receive any information or payment requests from the ATO, you will never be asked to share your private information such as bank account details and passwords… especially over the phone.
- Most of the ATO’s representatives are Australian nationals, so it is quite unlikely that you would be able to hear an American accent on the other end of the line. However, that doesn’t mean the ATO will never employ a foreigner, so it’s best to always confirm where the person is calling from and, if in doubt, as to speak to a manager or supervisor to confirm the purpose of the call. If the caller is genuine, there should be no issues in having them prove their legitimacy.
- If you think the call might be fake, ask the person to leave their name and telephone extension and tell them you’ll call them back in a few minutes. If this raises any concerns, just let the caller know that you’re aware of a few scams going on at the moment and you’d like to call the ATO yourself to confirm what’s being said. If everything is in order, then you’d be able to contact that person, via their telephone extension, to continue the call. Again, this shouldn’t be a problem and if you’re met with resistance, then it’s likely that you’re on the other end of an attempted scam.
Please be mindful of the dangers associated with sharing your personal information. Not only does it open doors into your finances and the like, but it also gives rise to opportunities for identity thieves to use that information to their advantage. Identity theft is a significant problem in Australia, with international criminals acquiring real Australian identities and using them for malicious fraud such as online dating and romance scams, false job applications, illegal purchases and more.
If you feel that you, or someone you know, might be in danger of being scammed or perhaps it’s already happened and you’d like to determine whether you can get your money back, get in touch with us today and see what we can do for you. We have faithfully served Australian businesses and individuals alike for three decades, assisting them to overcome any number of corporate, domestic and personal issues – especially where admissible evidence may be required in a court of law.
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Precise Investigation has a number of specialist field operatives, backed by a highly effective support team, available throughout Australia – Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane, Hobart and even the more remote areas of the country are all within reach and, should you need it, assistance is just a stone’s throw away. Contact us today and have us work with you to protect yourself, your loved ones and your livelihoods from the likes of Fraud and associated scams.
Image credit – Thank you Indi Samarajiva from flickr