FRIGHTENED: Gezina Kolder was frightened and left anxiety-ridden when she was the victim of an intimidating tax scam telling her there was a warrant for her arrest.
THE vulnerable and elderly are among those targeted in a frighteningnew scam.
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO)and police have warned the public to be aware of scams where fraudsters intimidate people into paying a fake tax debt over the phone.
Bed-riddenGezina Kolder was shaken to her core when she received the abrupt and intimidating message on the phone.The 95-year-old was told she would “go to court” if she failed to immediately pay her debts.
“I was very worried I was going to receive a heavy fine,” Ms Kolder said. “My first thought was ‘how am I going to pay for this?’”
“There is a possible warrant out for your arrest,” the voice-mail message said.
Assistant commissioner Thomas Ryan said that the ATO would never intimidate taxpayers in such a threatening and demeaning manner.
“We take your privacy seriously,” Mr Ryan said.
“We urge you to be alert to these types of scams and neversend money or give your financial details to someone you don’t know and trust.”
Ms Kolder immediately rung her son who researched it online and told her it was a scam.“I’m very lucky that I had him,” MsKolder said.
Mr Ryan said if people feared they were the victim of a scam they should attempt to find out the callers contact details and call the ATO immediately.
“If people receive a call from the ATO and are concerned about providing their personalinformation over the phone, they should ask for the caller’s name and phone them backthrough the ATO’s switchboard.”
Ms Kolder warned other people not to be intimidated by the call and to immediately contact someone if they were concerned.
“Don’t worry.It seems to happen to a lot of people. When I found out I was very relieved.”
Inspector Wilkinson from Griffith police said if anyone receives this sort of phone call they shouldhang up immediately and report the matter to their local police station or thepolice assistance line on 131 444.
“Any sort of solicitation of funds over the phone should be treated with suspicion, no government department engages in that sort of activity,” Inspector Wilkinson said.
Scamwatch, a governmentwebsite that provides information to consumers and small businesses about how to recognise, avoid andreport scamshave reported the call as a nation-wide trend, with most people reporting hearing message on their answering machines asking them to call back.
The number, (02) 6100 3027 has no connection to the Director of Public Prosecutions or ATO.
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