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.


  1. 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.

  2. Probably a man from Humpty Doo I’ve known for about 22 years who bragged two years ago about hacking into the royal Darwin hospital with authorities on his doorstep.
    Google search shows nothing re recent RDH hacking events. I do know this man is super capable of such.
    He also disclosed two years ago of being mega wealthy and hangs out in pubs n taverns the past few years checking out random people’s phones.

  3. There is an interesting article here –
    Interestingly I had a heated conversation with the bank the other day. The call was from a private number, but as it turned out it really was the bank. Mind you it took over 40 minutes for me to be convinced after some sloothing and arguing about giving my personal details.
    The biggest trouble is that these genuine organisations are supposed to be protecting you, but in fact they are only initially interested in protecting themselves. We were told never to give out the CCV number, but try doing an online or phone transaction without it!
    Telstra is a classic. They called me about a complaint I had lodged with the TIO. (Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman.)
    They wanted my DOB etc before they would discuss anything. (They called me remember.) They did say it was about a complaint I had made, so I asked what the complaint number was. I thought is was an innocuous but relevant bit of information and would have allayed any suspicions I may have had.
    BUT oh no, they wouldn’t give me that. So we argued for over 30 minutes before we were both satisfied we were both who we were supposed to be and got to the actual complaint. Westpac is exactly the same.
    Surprisingly the TIO had invited me to comment of these exact scenarios a few weeks before as I am a member of the TIO. So I wrote the to TIO outlining the issues with Telstra’s security policy and they wrote back and said that the Telstra internal security policy was not their affair.
    I ever so politely wrote back to them and asked then why they had invited me to comment in a previous forum, to which I had no reply.
    So folks, best advice is to get the callers number and ring the know number and verify or just ignore the call.
    Spam callers will try to threaten you and try to make you panic and that’s when you lose. Older people seem the most vulnerable and possibly easier targets.
    At the end of the day, nothing needs to be dealt with immediately, so get some details and ask someone you trust. Then call back.
    In reality, the tax department is unlikely to call, but they will write to you.


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