South Coast police warn residents of ATO phone scam

South Coast Police are warning residents to be wary of phone scammers who attempt to coax people into handing over their personal and financial details.

District Inspector Angela Burnell said there had been multiple reports from people who have received phone calls from someone claiming to represent either NSW Police Force, the Australian Taxation Office, Telstra, or a financial institution.

The caller tells the person that they have an outstanding bill or debt, that they have an outstanding warrant for their arrest, and instructs them to hand over their personal and financial details.

Inspector Burnell warned the public to be wary of any requests for personal details or payments made over the phone and are urging them not to give any personal details or to transfer any money to people over the phone.

“It’s unfortunate that our community is experiencing scam-related cold calls,” Inspector Burnell said.

“If you receive a call purporting to be from a government agency telling you that if you don’t ring back you’re going to be arrested, there is a fair chance it’s scam.

“The police won’t leave a message to let you know you’re under arrest.

“If your receive a call, hang up, the local police are only too happy to provide advice if you’re unsure. Scamwatch website.

“We don’t want anybody to lose their hard-earned cash to scammers on the other end of the line.”

File photo.

File photo.

Community members are reminded that the Australian Taxation Office will never:

  • threaten you with immediate arrest
  • ask you to pay money to receive a refund or payment from us
  • ask you to pay a debt via iTunes vouchers, or pre-paid credit card or store gift cards
  • ask you to provide personal information, such as your tax file number (TFN) or credit card number, via email or SMS
  • ask you to pay money into a personal bank account
  • direct you to download files from the internet, or open attachments in unsolicited emails.

Report

If you have lost money as a result of this type of scam, please report the matter to your local police station.

You can also report scams to the ACCC via SCAMWATCH or report a scam page or by calling 1300 795 995.

Protect yourself

If you receive a phone call out of the blue from someone claiming to be a representative of Telstra and their call relates to a problem with your internet connection, just hang up.

If you have doubts about the identity of any caller who claims to represent a business, organisation or government department, contact the body directly. Don’t rely on contact details provided by the person – find them through an independent source such as a phone book or online search.

Remember that you can still receive scam calls even if you have a private number or have listed your number on the Australian Government’s Do Not Call Register (link is external). Scammers can obtain your number fraudulently or from anywhere it has been publicly listed such as in a phone book.

Don’t let scammers press your buttons – scammers use detailed scripts to convince you that they’re the real deal and create a high-pressure situation to make a decision on the spot.

Always keep your computer security up to date with anti-virus and anti-spyware software, and a good firewall. Only buy computer and anti-virus software from a reputable source.

Never give your personal, credit card or online account details over the phone unless you made the call and the phone number came from a trusted source.

Never give a stranger remote access to your computer, even if they claim to be from a reputable business.

If you think your computer’s security has been compromised, use your security software to run a virus check. If you still have doubts, contact your anti-virus software provider or a computer specialist.

If you think you have provided your account details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately.

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