He took the $8000 and she felt like a criminal

Melissa Place devestated her family won't be able to celebrate her 14-year-old daughter's birthday properly, as she was
Melissa Place devestated her family won't be able to celebrate her 14-year-old daughter's birthday properly, as she was "robbed" in broad daylight from an over the phone scam claiming to be the ATO. Photo Louise Starkey / Daily Mercury Louise Starkey

IT WAS daylight robbery.

As Melissa Place went into detail of falling victim to a phone scam circulating the region, her eyes looked as empty as her bank account now is.

The 40-year-old woman lost $8000 this week to a fraudster who claimed to work for the Australian Taxation Office.

When she received the call, Mrs Place was advised she had an outstanding 2009-14 tax debt that needed to be resolved immediately.

She said she was verbally abused and threatened with police arrest if she didn't oblige.

"I feel like a fool. I feel like I've just got 'sucker' on my head," Mrs Place said.

"He said I would lose my house, I would lose my credit cards, I would lose everything. I was crying. He was that convincing."

Mrs Place said the caller directed her to a bank in Mackay where she put the money into his account.

"I got to Mackay and he said 'you're in Mackay now aren't you'," she said. "It was like he was tracking me."

Mrs Place said she "felt like a criminal".

It had been like someone had pulled a gun on her and forced her to pay the money, she said.

"I wish I'd just hung up."

But the nightmare wasn't over. The following day a man called at 9am demanding $8900 to resolve a 2011-14 tax debt.

She hung up but he called back six times. Then, about 9.30am, she was contacted by a woman claiming to be a police officer who asked for her address so she could come to arrest her.

The number on her phone indicated that the call had come from Sarina police station.

"We work hard for our money, and that $8000 could have been put towards my daughter's braces or her birthday next week."

Topics:  editors picks police sarina scam

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