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ATO Issues Warning About Ongoing Phone Scams

by Brett M. Christensen

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has again issued a warning about the phone scams that regularly target Australian taxpayers.

Criminals are now increasingly using caller ID spoofing to make it appear that the scam calls are really coming from the ATO.  This trick can increase the chances that recipients will believe that the call is legitimate and comply with the scammer’s instructions. 
The phone scammers often claim that you will be arrested for tax evasion if you do not make an immediate payment. They will demand that you pay via iTunes gift cards, wire transfers, pre-paid credit cards, or even Bitcoin. These scammers can be very intimidating and may be quite skilled at impersonating ATO staff.

The scammers may also trick you into providing sensitive personal and financial information during the course of the scam call. This information might later be used to steal your identity.

Keep in mind that the ATO will never call you and threaten to arrest you if you do not make an immediate payment.  If you receive such a call, just hang up.

You can read more about the scam attempts on the ATO’s scam alerts page.  The ATO has also issued the warning via its Facebook Page:

Such tax-related phone scams are not new.  And, these scammers target people all over the world, not just Australia.

Be wary of any phone call that purports to be from your country’s tax agency and claims that you must make immediate payments to avoid arrest or legal action.

Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,