ACT Policing is warning that a common phone scam is targeting Canberra after several reports of fraud during the last month.
ACT Policing is investigating a number of incidents where Canberrans have been defrauded by telephone scammers claiming to represent the Australian Tax Office (ATO). In some incidents, the scammers have taken large sums of money, from tens of thousands to over a hundred thousand dollars.
Criminal Investigations Manager Response Sergeant Marcus Boorman said many of the incidents involved a similar approach.
“Often the call comes from what appears to be an Australian phone number and the person claims to be from the ATO. They say that the victim must repay a tax debt. They may also threaten arrest if the victims don’t pay up,” Sergeant Boorman said.
“They’ll often ask victims to pay by money transfer or provide their credit card details. It’s incredibly difficult to get your money back once you’ve been scammed, so we hope that by raising awareness we can prevent more of these incidents from happening.”
“We’re also hoping members of the public will spread the word to their friends and families, particularly if they know someone who would be vulnerable to this type of scam. The more people know about how these scams work, the more likely they’ll recognise a scammer calling.”
If you receive a call or email out of the blue from someone claiming to represent the ATO and that you are entitled to or owe money – hang up or delete the email.
You can check whether they’re the real deal by calling the ATO on its official number: 13 28 61.
Report scams to the ACCC via scamwatch.gov.au or by calling 1300 795 995. If you’ve been defrauded, you can report it to police on 131-444.
Police remind people they should not report crime information via Facebook and Twitter pages.