By ERWIN CHLANDA
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.
Phone scammers get smarter
By ERWIN CHLANDA