Scam losses hit $2.8 million as police, tax board impersonated

Australians have lost millions of dollars to a phone scam demanding the payment of tax debts and threatening prison time, with authorities including the Tax Practitioners Board and police reporting their phone numbers have been appropriated as part of the hoax.

Experts warn telcos and authorities have an incredibly tough road ahead in shutting down the scammers, partly because "Voice over IP" phone setups make it so easy to hide the true phone number making the call.

On Thursday morning Camden Police Area Command in south-west Sydney issued a warning to the public after citizens reported calls from someone purporting to be from either the NSW Police Force or the Australian Taxation Office. The caller was alleging a tax debt.

"The number displayed on the caller identification is that of the local police station, and it is unclear how the scammers are utilising the actual number," NSW Police said in a statement.

The warning came just days after the Tax Practitioners Board, the regulator of tax agents, confirmed its phone number was also being impersonated in a similar scam. Read more
Emma Koehn & Emma Duke - Brisbane Times - 10 Jan 2019

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