How to catch out a scammer

The most common scam reported to us is where people are told they owe money to the ATO and it must be paid immediately. They can be threatened with arrest or court proceedings. In many cases, the caller can become hostile.

In the last quarter of 2015 there were nearly 10,000 phone scams reported to the ATO with approximately 450 people giving scammers their personal information and around 70 had been tricked into paying money.

When we’re talking about these phone scams, the first thing to remember is while we do make thousands of calls to taxpayers each week, we would never call someone about debt in such a threatening manner.

We would send an SMS or letter to remind you that a payment was due. If we didn’t get a response from this, we would then call you to discuss the letter or a SMS about making a payment.

For more information on how to protect yourself from scams go to

If you or someone you know thinks they may have been victim to an ATO phone scam, contact us on 13 28 61.

If you do not speak English well and want to talk to a tax officer, phone the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) on 13 14 50 for help with your call.

For more information on general tax information in up to 25 languages visit:

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    NSW Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe today issued a warning to accommodation providers in NSW about a credit card scam targeting their industry.

    Mr Stowe said Fair Trading had today received a report from a Woronora member of the Caravan and Camping Industry Association caught in the scam.

    It works like this: a so called customer contacted the caravan park via email to book 10 nights’ accommodation.

    A quote was provided to the customer, who confirmed they would like to book.

    The customer provided two credit card numbers via email and asked the park to charge each card 50 percent.

    The first card transaction went through with no problems, however it was a stolen card.

    The second card transaction was declined. The caravan park advised the customer of this.

    The customer then advised she wanted to cancel the booking. She said her husband had died suddenly and she could not travel.

    The caravan park advised they would cancel the booking and refund the money they had already paid minus a cancellation fee.

    The customer confirmed this arrangement was suitable but asked the park to refund the amount to another credit card and/or account because the credit card was recently stolen.

    The Park processed the refund to the credit card details provided.

    The caravan park’s bank detected the scam because of the reported stolen credit card and the transaction to the account.

    The bank advised the caravan park they were one of many caravan/holiday parks stung by the scam, including one at Fraser Island in Queensland.

    Commissioner Stowe said the agency was committed to protecting business in the fight against scammers.

    “Scammers are a scourge on society and all caravan, camping, tourist park and other accommodation providers should be alert to this particular scam,” he said. “Fair Trading is making enquiries about this scam.”

  • 2 former mayors, 18 others face raps for fertilizer scam

    MANILA, Philippines - The Office of the Ombudsman ordered the filing of graft charges against two former mayors, 18 former public officials and private individuals for their alleged involvement in the 2004 fertilizer fund scam.
    The case stemmed from the unlawful disbursements of funds amounting to P291.2 million, which formed part of the P728-million fertilizer fund allocated for the implementation of the Farm Inputs and Farm Implements Program of the Department of Agriculture (DA).
    Those to be indicted before the Sandiganbayan include former Tuburan, Cebu mayor Rose Marie Suezo, municipal accountant Virgilia Undag, agricultural officer Victoria Verano, municipal bids and awards committee (BAC) chair Nicodemus Montecillo Jr. and members Chito Armecin and Elsa Yosalina, and Marc Gulle of Sikap-Yaman Foundation.
    Also to be charged are former Maasin, Iloilo mayor Mariano Malones, municipal accountant Cecilio Montefrio, accountant Jimmy Borra, and Jose Barredo Jr. of the private firm Feshan Philippines Inc.
    Also facing indictment are former Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental barangay chairman Jeremias Ban; barangay councilmen Danilo Lamason, Raymund Vincent Besa, Manuel Tancinco, Nile Nelson Arroz, Adelino Plansa and Jonalyn Lauron; and city accountant Efren dela Rosa.
    Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales also ordered the dismissal from the service of Undag, Verano, Montecillo, Armecin, Yosalina, Lauron and Dela Rosa after finding them guilty of serious dishonesty, grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.
    In Tuburan, Cebu, records show that in an unnumbered and undated Purchase Request, then mayor Suezo approved the purchase of 250 bottles of foliar fertilizers at P1,000 each from Sikap-Yaman through shopping as recommended by the municipal BAC.
    However, the Commission on Audit (COA) issued an Audit Observation Memorandum stating that the procurement was overpriced by 426 percent because the average price of the foliar fertilizer in the market was only P180 per bottle.
    COA also said that the municipal BAC did not issue a certification authorizing shopping as the alternative mode of procurement, and that the supplier of foliar fertilizer presented no license or authority to sell.
    In Maasin, Iloilo, records show that the municipality represented by Malones entered into a memorandum of agreement with the DA-Regional Field Unit VI for the purchase of Bio-nature liquid organic fertilizers with an approved allocation of P999,000 on April 14, 2004.
    Almost two weeks later, private firm Feshan Philippines Inc. bagged the deal in a direct contracting and delivered 666 bottles of Bio-Nature Liquid Organic Fertilizer at P1,500 per bottle.
    But the investigation found procurement violations such as resorting to direct contracting to favor Feshan; reference to brand names and availability of cheaper substitutes for Bio-Nature Liquid Organic Fertilizer.
    The Office of the Ombudsman said that “in the performance of his official duty, Malones acted with manifest partiality when he dispensed with public bidding and gave Feshan unwarranted benefit by directly contracting it as the municipality’s fertilizer supplier.”
    Himamaylan City and the DA regional office also entered into a memorandum of agreement in 2004 which allotted P1 million for the purchase of Bio-Nature Liquid Organic Fertilizers.
    Records show that in an undated Purchase Request, Ban requested and approved the purchase of 666 bottles of Bio-Nature Liquid Organic Fertilizer at P1,500 per bottle.
    On May 20, 2004, after the purported bidding participated in by three suppliers, Ban awarded the contract to Feshan, which on the same day delivered the fertilizers costing P999,000.
    COA said the procurement of the liquid fertilizers was grossly overpriced in the amount of P560,840.91 as the prevailing market price at that time was only P125 per bottle.
    The investigation also found that there was no actual bidding and that there was reference to specific brand names, a violation of the procurement law. (By Michael Punongbayan, The Philippine Star; abs-cbn news)


    The NSW Department of Finance, Services and Innovation is warning the public to hang up on scam callers offering money and seeking personal details.
    Acting Secretary Anthony Lean said scammers commonly targeted seniors and people living in regional communities.
    “The department is aware of scam calls in the past week including one to a man in Tweed Heads who was offered a $6,300 payment,” he said.
    “The man said the caller offered to send a cheque and then sought his personal details, including which bank he used.
    “The scammer said the man should call back an Angela Cooper on 02 8006 0501 and quote the reference number MP11.
    “That phone number is answered by a so called Reclaims Department officer.”
    Mr Lean said this particular scam was not new and had captured many victims in the past, often the elderly and vulnerable.
    “It is a pernicious practice,” he said.
    People should report scams to Scamwatch on 1300 795 995 or at
    “No government finance department will cold call offering money and asking for your personal details,” Mr Lean said.
    “Unsuspecting people may fall for scams when they think they are dealing with legitimate government agencies.
    “The two stage technique used by scammers can unfortunately be quite convincing.
    “Scammers will try anything to take your money and identity, so if in doubt look up the contact number for any alleged government department and call them to see if you are in fact dealing with the real department.
    “Don’t call any number a cold caller gives you as that will be answered by another scammer.
    “Scammers rely on you not checking out their legitimacy. Never give out your bank details or address over the phone to cold callers.”

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