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Scammers posing as federal officers try to extort money from taxpayers

Two men impersonating federal officers turned up at an Adelaide man’s home on Monday, demanding he pay a tax debt through an eftpos machine.

Scammers posing as federal officers try to extort money from taxpayers
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  • Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
  • October 16, 2019
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The South Australian police have issued a warning to the public after two men impersonating federal officers tried to extort money from an Adelaide couple earlier this week.

At 3pm on Monday, 14 October, the victim received an automated phone message telling him he had a tax debt and a warrant had been issued for his arrest. The victim suspected a scam and rang the number back and terminated the call without providing any details.

According to a police statement, two men then appeared at the door of the victim’s home, wearing blue jackets emblazoned with “Federal Police” and identified themselves as police officers. They told the victim he had a tax debt and produced an eftpos machine. 

The victim challenged the men to produce identification and they ran off. 

SA police have described the men as of Indian subcontinental and Asian appearance, one aged in his late 20s, the other in his 40s with an American accent.

“A quick call to the ATO confirmed there was no outstanding tax debt and the victim immediately reported the matter to police. No money was stolen,” the police confirmed.

“Northern District CIB detectives are investigating and ask anyone who saw the two men at Salisbury Downs yesterday or have experienced any similar incidents to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.”

The office advised that if you are dealing with police, be it state or federal, and you doubt they are legitimate, ask to see some identification or ring 131 444 to verify their identity.

“Don’t provide personal details, including financial details, to anyone without first verifying their identity,” the police said.

To report a scam or for up-to-date news and alerts on scams and advice on how to best protect you from scams, visit www.scamwatch.gov.au

ATO sounds warning 

In July, the ATO issued a warning to taxpayers, urging practitioners to take steps to protect their practice and their clients.

According to the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC), tax-time scams in 2018 saw more than 114,000 reports and $2.8 million in reported losses, up from $2.4 million in 2017

In the first quarter of 2019, the ATO received 40,225 reports of impersonation scams with just over $1 million in losses. 

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