Scam alert – ATO impersonation scam

Police have received a large volume of calls from the public regarding a phone scam involving intimidation and threats of arrest.AFP

The ‘ATO impersonation scam’ involves members of the community receiving a phone call from the Australian Federal Police stating a warrant has been taken out for their arrest regarding non-payment of an Australian Taxation Office (ATO) fine.

Reports state the caller is quite demanding and some have suggested they are quite threatening in their tone. The victim is told to pay the fine or risk being arrested.

Acting Detective Inspector Hallett of the Financial and Cyber Crime Group says he is pleased people have been quick to report this latest scam.

“The AFP will not contact you in this way, and the ATO will never ask for direct payment over the telephone. Whilst I can understand it is quite intimidating and confronting to receive a phone call like this, it is important to remember that you must simply hang up on them.”

“Because it is tax time we are seeing a dramatic increase in these scams so we are asking the public to maintain a high level of awareness and vigilance towards these fraudulent representations.”

“It is also important to remember that as soon as we issue this warning, the scammers methodology may change. It is therefore important we all remember to stay vigilant when you receive any call, text, email or letter where payment of money or disclosure of personal details is involved.”

“Make further inquiries with the organisation via their official phone number, not the contact number provided by the offender,” Stop and ask yourself ‘R U in Control?’ of your personal information and financial identity?”

For further information on how to avoid becoming a victim and how to report these matters, visit the R U in Control page on the MyPolice blog at www.mypolice.qld.gov.au/incontrol

Official ATO payment methods can be found at www.ato.gov.au/howtopay or by calling the ATO on 1800 008 540 to verify the authenticity of a call.