In a statement, the tax office has warned the public that the scam involves fraudsters intimidating people into paying a fake tax debt over the phone by threatening them with jail or arrest.
Second commissioner Geoff Leeper said the ATO is very concerned about taxpayer privacy and wants to remind 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,” said Mr Leeper.
The second commissioner added that scammers pretending to be from the ATO are generally more common during tax time and he encouraged people to be vigilant and to protect their personal information.
The ATO called on the public 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 13 28 69.