Nick Rheinberger from 97.3 ABC Illawarra received a voice message from a heavily accented man claiming to be “Michael Anderson” from the ATO, earlier this week.
“The reason of this call is to inform you that we have received a complaint in court under your name, and that the complaint for tax evasion,” the message said.
“Before you go ahead and take it to the district court and issue a warrant, please remember us. Do not ignore this message and return the call as soon as possible.”
Dialing the number back, told the man he was recording the phone call. “F*** you, and the recording and put this recording on your ass mother f***er,” the man said. “Okay? So go and get f***ed, go and f*** * * * your mom.”
Rheinberger replied, ironically: “well, OK, this is what I expect from the Australian Taxation Office.”
According to the ATO, the Australians have already lost 1.5 million dollars to phone scams this year, despite the repeated warnings of the consumption of the body.
Mark Chapman, director, tax communications at H&R Block, said earlier this year, the phone scams becoming more and more popular. “People fall for them simply because the approach that scammers make is so aggressive,” he said.
“The appellant has actually said that the customer has an outstanding debt and needs to pay immediately, under penalty of imprisonment. People feel bullied into paying. Generally, people who are called not to have any kind of tax debt at all, and of course the ATO will never adopt this approach.”
Mr. Chapman said phone scams appeared to target victims randomly through cold-calling. “I called some of these numbers in my time, they seem to be quite complex operations with a large number of people involved,” he said.
“The number is through what appears to be an Australian landline phone, but in reality it is from a call centre outside Australia. It seems that they are possibly somewhere in India, although without doubt there is more of an obligation to do so.”