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WARNING! Telephone Scammers Threaten Arrest to Recover Fake Tax Debts

There has been a recent spate of fraudulent phone calls received by individuals from scammers claiming to be from the Australian Taxation Office or the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.

The callers claim that overdue tax debts or criminal activity on your part have prompted them to obtain arrest warrants in your name and unless the “outstanding debt” or a fee is paid, they would proceed to arrest you. The callers use threatening language and also know some identifying information about the people they call and which they use to “prove” their authenticity.

The callers generally leave an Australian-looking phone number (usually with the 02 area code) with instructions to call back on that number as soon as possible with payment details. The phone numbers they leave however, are routed through various countries and are not legitimate Australian government agency numbers.

We urge you to exercise great caution should you receive a phone call from the Australian Taxation Office or the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions threatening you with arrests for tax related offences. Please contact your Ruddicks adviser ASAP if you are unsure about the legitimacy of the call. We can quickly and simply confirm whether you have any outstanding debts or lodgement obligations with the ATO.

The Taxation Office will almost always contact Ruddicks as your tax agents first, in the event of legitimate overdue tax debt and should not call you directly to threaten you with arrest.

More information is available on ACCC’s Scam Watch website.

You can listen to a recorded example of one such phone call on the Newcastle Herald website.

Another example of is provided on the WA Department of Commerce Scam Net website.

We take this opportunity to remind you not to disclose your Tax File Number (TFN) to anyone unless you are absolutely certain of their identity and they have a legitimate reason for needing the TFN: e.g. your tax agent, employer, superannuation fund, financial planner or your bank. TFNs can be used to commit identity theft and fraud. Please contact us immediately if you think your TFN might have been compromised.

DISCLAIMER: The contents of this publication are general in nature and we accept no responsibility for persons acting on information contained herein. The content of this newsletter does not constitute specific advice and readers are encouraged to consult their Ruddicks adviser on any matters of interest. © Ruddicks 2015

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