Hang up if anyone calls about ATO debt

Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe is warning NSW residents about scam calls purporting to be from the Australian Tax Office (ATO).

Mr Stowe said scammers are telling consumers they have a tax debt and in some cases threatening them with arrest warrants.

“Seniors are a target,” he said.

“Yesterday they phoned an 80 year old resident in Tamworth and a retirement village resident in Moonbi near Tamworth.

“They left a message for the Tamworth resident to call 02 6145 2247 and for the Moonbi resident to call 02 6152 8686.

“They also reportedly called at least 20 people in Maitland in the Hunter region and requested a call back to 02 6100 3027.”

Scammers also claim to be from the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.

The call back technique is common and lures people into believing they are dealing with a legitimate government agency.

Scammers are out to harvest bank details and funds. Don’t respond to these calls and never give out your bank account or other personal details.

The ATO does not cold call consumers about debts. They send a letter or SMS to remind people that a payment is due in the first instance. The ATO does not threaten jail or arrest if a person fails to transfer funds.

If you receive a call from the ATO and want to check its legitimacy call the ATO on 13 28 69.

For information about scams go to: www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au or www.scamwatch.gov.au or call NSW Fair Trading on 13 32 20 or Scamwatch on 1300 795 995.

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