Perth seniors targeted in ATO scam

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ConsumerSenior

Two Perth seniors are the latest victims who have lost money to the ATO scam, prompting a renewed warning from Consumer Protection.

A 69 year old Swan View woman received a call from a scammer purporting to be from the Australian Taxation Office offering a $70,000 rebate, but she was told she had to first send $10,000 before receiving the money.

In another recent case, a 74 year old Leeming woman was called by scammers who told her they were from the ATO and she had to pay a tax bill by the end of the day or she would be arrested. The woman sent $500 initially and then a further $2,900 was demanded. Luckily the victim managed to have the second payment via an Australia Post Load and Go card cancelled after discovering it was a scam.

Commissioner for Consumer Protection Anne Driscoll is concerned the threatening nature of the scam calls is intimidating seniors in our community.

“The ATO scam has been around for many years but I am concerned that the scammers are now turning to threatening tactics to coerce their victims into transferring money in order to get fictitious refunds or rebates,” Ms Driscoll said.

“Seniors are especially vulnerable to these types of pressure tactics so we must warn them and others that the ATO will never ask for funds in this way. If in doubt, contact the ATO independently to verify if the call was genuine, but don’t use any contact numbers or email addresses given by the caller.

“This is the time of year when you may think a call from the ATO about your tax return is not unusual.  Don’t be tricked into transferring money for any reason.  If you are unsure ask for a written assessment to be posted to your home and remember that the tax office know who you are, so don’t provide any information to callers. You will never have to pay any money upfront to receive a refund or rebate from the tax office.”

So far this year, 10 people have reported to WA ScamNet losses totalling almost $25,000 to the ATO scam. There has been a general increase in phone enquiries at Consumer Protection in recent months regarding the ATO scam as well as bogus Government rebate payments.

Further information and advice on scams can be found on the WA ScamNet website.

Enquiries or scam reports can be made by email wascamnet@commerce.wa.gov.au or by phone 1300 30 40 54.

Go to the WA ScamNet website www.scamnet.wa.gov.au

Media contact (Consumer Protection) 

Consumer Protection
Media release
07 Aug 2014

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