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Police warn elderly residents to beware of scams

Police are continuing to warn members of the public to be vigilant after a woman from Brisbane fell victim to a scam which appears to be targeting elderly residents.

The scam operates whereby victims are called by a representative claiming to be from the Australian Tax Office (ATO) or another government agency.

The caller tells the resident that a sum of money is owed to the ATO and payment is required by way of a prepaid visa card, money transfer or bank deposit.

Victims are then told that if they do not comply a warrant will be issued.

This is a scam. The ATO would never threaten jail or arrest.

A woman in Alexandra Hills recently fell victim to the scam. The 75-year-old pensioner received a phone call from a man with an aggressive and demanding tone, advising that his name was Andrew Watson and he was from the ATO.

The man advised the woman that an arrest warrant was out for the woman for tax evasion. The man stated that the victim was sent two letters, which had been ignored. The man stated that the woman owed $9674.23.

The woman was concerned that she was going to be arrested and so left the house to go to her financial institution and withdraw money.

Upon leaving her home, the woman was called on her mobile phone by the man who stayed on the phone and guided her as to what he wanted her to do.

The woman attended her financial institution and withdrew $9700 cash and was given instructions to deposit the money into various bank accounts, and fax the receipts, along with a copy of her drivers licence.

The woman made several subsequent withdrawals and deposits as guided by the man. These deposits were made directly to bank accounts and via electronic money transfers.

Over the course of eleven days, the woman deposited cash to the amount of $43,400 to the man.

The woman grew increasingly concerned and contacted police who are now investigating.

If you are cold called or emailed, never provide personal, bank account or credit card details and do not open links.

Ensure you check the bona fides of the caller/sender by directly contacting the agency they claim to represent through numbers available on their website.

If you feel you have been compromised it is imperative you contact your bank and credit card provider immediately.

To ensure you are not becoming a victim of fraud, it is essential you remain alert to those who contact you requesting access to your personal, bank account or credit card details.

For further information on how to stay safe, visit www.police.qld.gov.au/programs/cscp/fraud  or www.scamwatch.gov.au  for updated scam information.

For information regarding this aggressive phone scam, and for key differences between a legitimate call from the ATO and a potential scammer visit http://ato.gov.au/Media-centre/Media-releases/Don-t-fall-for-phony-tax-debt-scam/

If you have information for police, contact Policelink on 131 444 or provide information using the online form 24hrs per day.

You can report information about crime anonymously to Crime Stoppers, a registered charity and community volunteer organisation, by calling 1800 333 000 or via crimestoppersqld.com.au 24hrs per day.

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