Phone scammers get smarter



An Alice Springs woman is $29,000 poorer after falling victim to a scammer pretending to be from the Australian Taxation Office.


An ATO spokesman says the scammers are now using “online third-party technologies to spoof their outbound Caller ID”.


The spokesman did not explain how this is done nor what actions the ATO is taking.


The victim’s phone, if it is equipped to record the phone numbers of incoming calls, will now show an ATO number, usually 02 6216 1111.


The scammers’ recorded message the victim hears is aggressive and threatening.


The Alice Springs News Online has been able to record part of the summer’s message:



The ATO website says: “Similar to previous alerts we have issued in September and March this year, we are seeing an increased number of reports of scammers contacting members of the public pretending to be from the ATO and claiming that there are outstanding tax debts and threatening people with arrest if the debt is not paid immediately.


“We are now seeing an evolution of this tactic where the scammers are using technology to make it look like the calls originate from a legitimate ATO phone number.


“This number may appear on caller ID, be left on voice mail messages for call backs, or directed by *69 for call back functionality.


“Scammers do this to make the calls seem more valid when they call people a second time. Most frequently the number appearing is 6216 1111, but other numbers have been used as well.”


Detective Senior Sergeant Leith Phillips says: “The fake representative threatened the victim with an arrest warrant should she fail to make payment and demanded the woman pay a total of $29,000, which she did, in the form of i-tunes and Google Play Cards.


“In many cases, scammers demand the victim to make payment via the Post Office or ‘Load and Go” card, or in this instance – i-tunes and Google Play Cards,” says Det Phillips.




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2 Comments (starting with the most recent)

NB: If you want to reply to a previous comment, start your comment with this notation: @n where n is the number of the comment you want to reply to.
  1. Evelyne Roullet
    Posted October 27, 2018 at 12:37 pm

    Yes, Psuedo Guru I did it, telling the caller my taxes have always been done by an accountant.
    I also had a call from the Commonwealth Bank regarding my account, and the charming lady gave a number to call if I wanted to reassure myself she really works for the bank.
    I told her I do banking online and the bank contacts me on the site mailbox.
    I also had a call from the Police.
    I told the caller I work for the police and his call is monitored.
    There is also a so called “funny social call” done by tricksters to see reactions.

    View Comment
  2. Psuedo Guru
    Posted October 26, 2018 at 6:51 pm

    Refer ATO enquiries to ASP tax agent. Much cheaper.

    View Comment

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