Scammers hit Tura Beach

Local residents should be wary of calls purporting to come from the Australian Tax Office and offering a refund.

Local residents should be wary of calls purporting to come from the Australian Tax Office and offering a refund.

Tura Beach is once again the target of potential scammers who are phoning homes purporting to be from the Australian Tax Office with a refund.

One woman who lives at Tura Beach but did not wish to have her name printed, said that she had been phoned three times in the last two weeks.

She also warned that rather than a foreign sounding voice, the man calling had an Australian accent. The woman who has number identification on her phone said that twice the number came up as ‘private’ but on the most recent occasion the identification came up as ‘overseas’ with the number ‘2649594582’.

The ACCC (Australian Competition & Consumer Commission) runs a Scamwatch website (www.scamwatch.gov.au) which details many of the current scams.

The ACCC warns consumers and small businesses to be aware of scammers taking advantage of the busy nature of tax time to target them.

If you receive a call or email out of the blue from someone claiming to represent the ATO and that you are entitled to, or owe money – just hang up or press delete. You can check whether they’re the real deal by calling the ATO on its official contact number: 13 28 69.

The ACCC warns: “Scammers pretending to be from the ATO will typically approach you by phone or email and spin a range of tall tales to trick you into handing over your personal details or money. A common tax time scam involves scammers claiming that you have overpaid your tax and are entitled to a refund, but that you have to pay a tax or administration fee upfront in order for the money to be released. Another tax scam is based on the ruse that you owe money due to a miscalculation from the previous financial year. Scammers also continue to pedal the classic phishing scam where they ‘fish’ for your details by asking you to verify your details.

“Scammers use a number of tools to slip under your radar you at tax time – from impersonating an ATO representative, to creating official looking emails and email addresses, to creating sleek and professional-looking websites that mirror the ATO site. They have even been known to create web portals that appear to be hosted on the ATO site, which are designed to trick you into providing your personal details.

“Beware – scammers may even recite some personal information about you to trick you into thinking they’re the real deal. These days, it’s easy for scammers to get a hold of personal information from social media and other networking forums.

“Your personal details, including your Tax File Number, credit card or bank details are valuable and should never be provided to a stranger. If you hand over your personal information to a scammer, they can use it to commit identity theft and steal your money. You should also be very wary of any requests to send money via money transfer – it’s nearly impossible to recover money sent this way,” the ACCC said.

The ATO advises that from time to time it will send taxpayers emails, SMS messages or official social media updates alerting them to new services. However, the ATO will never request personal or financial information by SMS or email.

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