Phone scam warning as pensioners promised 'refunds'

A BEGA pensioner has alerted the BDN to recent phone scam she was subjected to. 

The woman chose not to give her name to protect herself from future scams, although she was keen to prevent others in the Bega Valley from falling victim. 

The Bega pensioner said she and her husband have received two calls, one in mid-July and one last week about a refund they were owed. 

The caller said the refund was from the “Federal Government”, but declined to name which department it was from.

In order to get the refund, allegedly $7600, the caller wanted the date of birth of the pensioner and her husband. 

When she refused the male caller hung up. 

She was contacted again last week by a female caller who said the pensioner was owed $5248 by the Federal Government and again requested her date of birth. 

The pensioner was told she could call (02) 8005 7583 and ask for Andrew Anderson or John Adams to confirm the details. 

The Bega woman did not call this number and was phoned back by the female caller 30 minutes later demanding to know why she hadn’t called the number because they would only be at work for another hour.

The BDN called this number and it went to a message bank.

“We get a pension as our only source of income so we don’t do tax returns, we know we are not owed money,” the Bega woman said. 

“We were on to the callers from the start, but I want to tell other vulnerable people out there about this so they know what type of things these callers are saying.”

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s SCAMwatch released advice in July urging people to wary of scams during tax time. 

“The ATO [Australian Tax Office] advises that from time to time it will send taxpayers emails, SMS messages or official social media updates alerting them to new services. 

“However, the ATO will never request personal or financial information by SMS or email.

“Beware, scammers may even recite some personal information about you to trick you into thinking they’re the real deal.”

SCAMwatch and the ATO remind people never to give out their tax file number or date of birth to unsolicited callers. 

The ATO advises its official contact number is 13 28 69. 

You can forward suspect refund scams to ReportEmailFraud@ato.gov.au or call the ATO during business hours on 1800 060 062 to discuss a suspected scam.

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