ITunes vouchers the currency for ATO and Centrelink scammers

ITunes vouchers the currency for ATO and Centrelink scammers

FRAUDSTERS posing as government agency officers are still tricking victims into making bogus payments to them with iTunes vouchers, despite the Australian Tax Office warning of the scam last year.

Warwick Sergeant Paul Fenwick said police were investigating recent reports of callers acting as Australian Tax Office (ATO) and Centrelink officials to defraud residents, particularly the elderly.

He explained the phony ATO callers would claim the victim owed a debt.

The Centrelink imposters would tell residents they were entitled to backpay but needed to pay a fee before they could claim it.

In each case, the callers would ask for payment in iTunes vouchers.

Victims were usually convinced they had to clear the claim right away.

“They buy a couple hundred dollars worth of iTunes vouchers and give the (serial) number to the people on the phone,” Sgt Fenwick said.

Sgt Fenwick said Warwick officers had heard from two local residents who had paid the scammers then realised they had been tricked.

The ATO warned of the scam in May last year.

Assistant Commissioner Janine Clark said the office had also received reports of callers demanding Visa pre-paid gift card numbers.

“By the time these scams are reported to us, the cards have already been on-sold or redeemed by the scammers,” she said.

“The scammers don’t need the actual physical card.

“They just need the gift card number, which they get victims to read over the phone.”

She said the ATO would never request payment in the form of gift cards.

“If you do have a debt, we would have written to you first,” she said.

“If we do ring you, our staff will identify themselves and let you know how you can call us back.”

She advised residents to report scams to the ATO on 13 11 42.