Phone Scammers Target Tax Chief

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One of the country’s most senior tax officials says she was the target of phone scammers claiming to represent the Australian Taxation Office.

The ATO is warning people to be wary of callers trying to extract payments over the phone.

More than 17,000 scams have been reported so far this year, with victims losing about $1.5 million.

The fraudulent activity usually ramps up around this time of year, with more than 48,000 scams reported across the country between July and October 2016.

Assistant Commissioner Kath Anderson said she was one of those called.

“I thought it was quite interesting because they were telling me all about the tax law, which wasn’t really the tax law,” she said.

“They were quoting the wrong thing, so I did entertain them for a few minutes but once they realised I was someone who knew what I was talking about they hung up quite swiftly.

“Which kind of killed my fun at the end of the day.”

Bob Weston, from Wyrallah, said crooks recently phoned his home and tried to convince his wife she had been audited and needed to pay a fine.

“They’re saying that if you can pay it right now they’ll cut 20% off the bill, which is crazy for a taxation office,” he said.

“Last time my wife said she didn’t have that kind of money, she’d have to go and arrange a loan.

“Anyway she said she was going down to talk to the bank manager and they’d have to call back in about an hour.

“So about an hour later they did, I answered the phone and told them what they could do with the rough end of a pineapple.”

Mr Weston said it was the second time his family had been targeted.

Source: ABC

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