Aussies Targeted By 'Aggressive' Tax Scam Calls
Hundreds of Australians have been hit with a robo-call from scammers pretending to be the Australian Tax Office in the first few days of the new financial year.
There have been more than 250 reports of phone-based tax scams between July 1 and July 4, according to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC).
This is on top of the more than 13,000 reports made so far in 2019, leading to reported losses of more than $1 million.
People are reporting phone calls from either an "aggressive scammer" or a robotic-sounding voice, asking them to fix an outstanding tax debt or face imminent arrest and jail time.
The person is then directed to pay the tax fine either via iTunes of Google gift cards or through a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin.
"Scammers are taking advantage of people lodging their taxes at the end of the financial year," an ACCC spokesperson told 10 daily.
"The tax office will never threaten you with arrest or ask for immediate payments through unusual payment methods such as gift emails."
Another ATO scam currently doing the rounds is via email, telling the recipient they are owed a large tax return. However, it's nothing more than a phishing scam, designed to get you to put your details into a fake myGov website.
"People who receive a call or email telling them they will be arrested for a tax debt should hang up the phone or delete the email," the ACCC spokesperson said.
If you do receive a call or email and want to check if it's legitimate, you can call the ATO on 1800 008 540.
Meanwhile, millions of Australians are set to receive a $1080 tax cut this financial year, after the government passed its mammoth $158 billion tax cut this week.
While lower and middle-income earners are bound to feel some relief from the tax cuts, changes to HECS debt repayments from July 1 -- with the lowering of the repayment threshold from $52,000 to $45,881 -- mean some income earners will lose the financial benefit.
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