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Australian Tax Office scam phone calls have “exploded” in the past month: ACCC

Reports of an ATO scam, where a recorded message threatens a person will be arrested if they don’t pay a tax bill, have “exploded” in the past month according to the ACCC.

The phone calls are made from landlines; a pre-recorded message, often with an accent, tells the person that they will be arrested unless they comply with a series of instructions.

The ATO began warning the public about the scam back in March, and Delia Rickard, Deputy Chair of the ACCC’s Scamwatch, told Neil Mitchell in the last month alone Scamwatch has received almost 8000 calls about it.

“We’re seeing a tsunami of these calls, I even had one yesterday, just about everyone I know has had one, including smart people who were taken in by it,” Delia said.

“And to the year to date, we’ve had about $1.25 million reported lost to this scam.

“This has just exploded in the last month.”

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“They really get quite intimidating and scary for people,” she said.

“They ask you to pay through all sorts of methods, iTunes cards seems to be the main one we’ve seen.

“No government department, no Telco, no legitimate business is going to ask to be paid in in giftcards.”

No charges have been laid over the scam.