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Do not answer this number, it’s a scam

ATO scam calls have been making the rounds again and innocent targets are being threatened with bogus arrest warrants. Here's what you need to know to avoid getting scammed.

It's not every morning that you receive a voicemail threatening an arrest warrant against you but for many Australians this has been the case in recent weeks. On Friday morning I received a call from number (+61 612 8091 2639). After I screened the call, this was the voicemail sent immediately after:

"Department Division Number 2 8091 2639, I repeat 2 8091 2639. Now if we don't hear from you we have to issue an arrest warrant under your name and get you arrested so get back to me as soon as possible. Thank you."

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After a quick search of the phone number and details from the suspicious voicemail online, it was safe to say that this number appeared to be from a scam caller pretending to be the Australian Taxation Office.

Last month news.com.au reported that the ATO had received 28,000 reports since July 1, with similar lawsuit-related calls among them. With scammers constantly using different phone numbers to contact their victims, it can be hard to track and stop these kinds of calls.

Jim Hobill, in his 80s, sensed he had received a scam phone call from someone claiming to be from the ATO so he called them directly to confirm and he was right. Picture: Mike Dugdale
Jim Hobill, in his 80s, sensed he had received a scam phone call from someone claiming to be from the ATO so he called them directly to confirm and he was right. Picture: Mike Dugdale

Why scammers contact you

Scammers will continually adapt their methods to contact people but their objectives remain the same, to get you to pay them money or collect your personal information. With your personal information at hand a scammer can commit identity fraud and access various accounts linked to you such as bank accounts, Centrelink and superannuation.

What to do if you suspect a call is a scam

Don't pick up

Don't answer the call if you don't recognise the number. This way you will definitely avoid any chance of scam callers phishing for your information.

Google the phone number

After letting your phone ring out, search the phone number online to see if anyone else has flagged this number as suspicious. This will be a good indication if this number is legitimate or a potential scam. If others have reported a similar instance with the same phone number, you can safely say the call was a scam.

Report the number

If you receive a similar call pretending to be the ATO, you can report the number.

For any other suspicious calls, you can report the number online to SCAM Watch.



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