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Phone scammers doing the rounds

A CAUTIONARY tale has emerged from the Gemfields after a Sapphire woman almost became a victim of yet another phone scam.

Jennifer Belbin’s quick thinking and suspicion of a random phone call saved her from being ripped off by someone claiming to be from the Australian Tax Office, offering her a rebate of more than $7000.

“A man, who called himself John Harvey, said he was from the ATO in Canberra and started rattling off all this personal information about me,” Ms Belbin said.

“He said I was owed $7600 from the tax office and he needed some more information from me before he could process it, but it sounded too good to be true so I asked him for a number I could call.

“Not surprisingly, it didn’t work.”

Ms Belbin said she rang the number, but it was a fake, so she rang the ATO in Canberra to ask about the apparent tax refund.

They told her it was definitely a scam, laughed it off, and said it had been “going on for ages”.

But what alarmed Ms Belbin more than just being rung “out of the blue” was the fact the man had all her personal details, despite her being very careful about what information she releases on the internet and other public forums.

“He had all my personal details like my name, my address, post office box, date of birth and it sort of scared me,” Ms Belbin said.

“But what really put me onto the scam was that this John Harvey sounded Asian.

“I’ve had a few of these, and it’s scary because now is just after the floods and with everything people are going through, people could be very unsuspecting.

“I just feel there should be something out there to warn people.”

Tax commissioner Michael D’Ascenzo warned residents to be vigilant about scam behaviour, and said scammers use phone calls, letters, text messages, emails, bogus websites and job advertisements to try to obtain personal information.

“If something seems suspicious, too good to be true, asks you for personal details or cannot be verified by contacting an official source, it is likely to be a scam and you should report it.

“We keep the community informed about any scam reports we receive. These scams are then investigated by the ATO and other government agencies appropriate, including the Australian Federal Police.”

To report a suspected scam, contact the ATO client contact centre by phoning 132 861.

Email scams can be forwarded to ReportEmailFraud@ato.gov.au.


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