ATO phone scammers turn up at Adelaide man's house dressed as police with eftpos machine

| 15.10,19. 11:07 PM |




ATO phone scammers turn up at Adelaide man's house dressed as police with eftpos machine



Photo: The men ran off after the victim refused to swipe his card. (AAP: Alan Porritt)



Two men turned up to another man's house with an eftpos machine
demanding money after earlier calling him pretending to be from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), according to SA Police.
In a statement, SA Police said that yesterday the Salisbury Downs victim received an automated phone message telling him he had a tax debt and that a warrant had been issued for his arrest.
He suspected it was a scam and called the number back, but did not provide any further personal details.
About 30 minutes later, two men turned up at his home wearing blue jackets with the words "Federal Police" on them.
The man, who did not want to be named, told the ABC the pair identified themselves as Australian Federal Police (AFP) from an Adelaide branch, held out an eftpos machine and told him he had a tax debt.
"They had handcuffs on their belt but I knew they weren't legit," he said.
"Their jacket just said 'Federal Police' not AFP.
"I knew straight away they were fake.
"If I hadn't have been home, my wife would have handed over the credit card."
When he asked the two men to produce identification, they ran off.
He said he had only lived at the property for six months, but three months ago there were people walking around who said they were conducting a census in the area.
"I didn't fill in the form, I don't want people knowing my business," he said.
The man said he knew a person who had been scammed out of money.
"I know someone who got done for about $1,000," he said.
"They roam the streets collecting information and pretending to be official."
Police described the men as of "Indian subcontinental and Asian appearance", one aged in his 20s and the other in his 40s with an American accent.
"A quick call to the ATO confirmed there was no outstanding tax debt and the victim immediately reported the matter to police," SA Police said in a statement.
"No money was stolen."
Northern District detectives have urged anyone who saw the two men or who have experienced similar incidents to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Scams getting more common
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's latest Targeting Scams report estimated Australians lost $489 million to scams in 2018.
The regulator noted there had been a 900 per cent surge in the number of reported "ATO scams".
One version of the scam involves people receiving phone calls from a robotic voice, demanding to be called back, along with a threat.
Another variation involves callers pretending to be from the ATO, telling the victim that they owe enormous tax debts.
The caller tells the victim that a warrant has been issued for their arrest — unless they purchase thousands of dollars in Apple iTunes vouchers and then relay the cards' redemption codes to the fraudsters.


How to protect yourself from scams:
•If you receive a phone call or email out of the blue from someone claiming to be from the Commonwealth DPP or Australian Taxation Office telling you about an arrest warrant, hang up.
•If you have any doubts about the identity of any caller who claims to represent a government department, contact the body directly.
•Don't rely on numbers, email addresses or websites provided by the caller — find them through an independent source such as a phone book or online search.
•Never send money via wire transfer to anyone you do not know or trust.
•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.
•If you think you have provided your account details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately.
Source: Scamwatch, ACCC




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