Police are urging members of the community to be on the lookout for taxation scams following an increase in people being targeted around the state.
Commander of the NSW Police Force Fraud and Cybercrime Squad, Detective Superintendent Arthur Katsogiannis, said fraudsters were contacting members of the public by phone and tricking them into paying sums of cash.
“These scam artists will call people on their landline telephone or mobile and claim they work for the Australian Tax Office,” he said.
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“They tell the person they have an outstanding tax debt and that if they don’t pay up quickly they will be arrested, taken to court and fined thousands of dollars.
“The victim is told to make a payment via the post office or Western Union to avoid prosecution; by all accounts the offenders are quite convincing.
“Reports have been widespread and, in more recent times, have occurred in remote parts of the state including Hay, Broken Hill and Griffith.”
Det Supt Katsogiannis said there had been an initial spike in this scam at the end of the financial year, but it had re-emerged as an issue just recently.
He said while there had been 80 reported incidents of people being targeted and losing money in NSW this year, it was thought the true figure would be higher as people were often reluctant to report fraud offences.
“The Fraud and Cybercrime Squad has established a strike force and we are keen to hear from anyone with information to assist us,” he said.
“In particular, we would like to hear from anyone who has fallen victim through this scam. If you have received a similar call and made a payment, please contact us.
“Local police recently arrested three men in southern NSW in relation to this type of activity, but we believe there is a larger criminal syndicate operating on our shores with possible overseas links.”
If you are contacted by anyone purporting to be from the Australian Tax Office and saying you owe money, police urge you to do the following:
-Check with your Tax Agent.
-Hang up the phone and contact the ATO yourself
-If you suspect it is a scam, report the matter to your local police station immediately.
More information about this scam can be found online at:
Australian Taxation Office – Online services:
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission – Scamwatch: