Tax office scam warning for WA

Dozens of consumers across metropolitan and regional WA have been reporting phone calls from scammers pretending to be the Australian Taxation Office. This has prompted a warning from Consumer Protection.

During the unsolicited calls people are told they are entitled to a refund for GST charges and to transfer a deposit to confirm their bank details and identity before the money they are owed is put into their account.

Consumer Protection's confirmed it's a scam and nothing to do with the Australian Tax Office.

Commissioner for Consumer Protection Anne Driscoll said several Western Australians in places like Bunbury, Narrogin and Wagin have unfortunately already fallen foul though.

"The amount of dollars lost by WA consumers recently is in the thousands and we want to prevent that number from increasing further.

"One of our officers has actually spoken to one of the scammers, who called from an untraceable number believed to be in India.

"She identified herself and the scammer confidently told her that he was from 'Federal Government in Canberra'. However when she asked to speak to his supervisor and explained she was aware of advance fee fraud using the Australian Tax Office name, he verbally abused her using expletives."

The Commissioner added that the scammers prey on the vulnerable and use threats to intimidate them.

"One woman in Geraldton was warned that her single parent allowance and pension would be stopped if she did not cooperate. This sort of threat puts people in fear when they have no need to be worried as there is nothing official about these calls. They are simply a way to defraud innocent people and if you transfer money you will never see it again."

In 2009 Consumer Protection issued a warning about a similar scam which quoted the Australian Tax Office. This can be viewed via this link.

Similar advance fee fraud scams operating in WA recently involve unsolicited callers falsely claiming to be from the Consumer Action Law Centre or the Department of Fair Trading and offering to reimburse overcharged bank fees.

END OF RELEASE

(Consumer Protection is a division of the Department of Commerce)

Media Contact:

Alina Cavanagh
9282 0679 or 0423-846397
alina.cavanagh@commerce.wa.gov.au

Consumer Protection
Media release
25 Jun 2010

Share this page:

Last modified: