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  • Don't fall for phony tax debt scam

    The ATO is again warning the public to be aware of an aggressive phone scam circulating where fraudsters are intimidating people into paying a fake tax debt over the phone by threatening jail or arrest.

    Second Commissioner Geoff Leeper has said that the ATO is very concerned about taxpayer privacy and is reminding people of the key differences between a scam of this nature and a genuine call from the ATO.

    “We make thousands of outbound calls to taxpayers a week, but there are some key differences to a legitimate call from the ATO and a call from a potential scammer” said Mr Leeper.

    “We would never cold call you about a debt; we would never threaten jail or arrest, and our staff certainly wouldn’t behave in an aggressive manner. If you’re not sure, hang up and call us back on 1800 008 540,” said Mr Leeper.

    Things to remember

    • The ATO would never cold call you about a debt. If you have a debt you will receive a letter or SMS to remind you that a payment is due in the first instance.
    • The ATO would never threaten jail or arrest.
    • If you receive a call from the ATO and are concerned about its legitimacy, ask for the caller’s name and phone them back through the ATO’s switchboard on 1800 008 540.

    Mr Leeper also said that scammers pretending to be from the ATO are generally more common during tax time and encouraged people to be vigilant and to protect their personal information.

    If people think they may have fallen victim to a phone scam, contact the ATO on 1800 008 540.

    For more information and examples of recent scams visit the ATO website or SCAMwatchExternal Link.

    Last modified: 06 Jul 2015QC 46192