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Aggressive phone scam targets Inland Revenue customers

21 July 2014 Aggressive phone scam targets Inland Revenue customers

Inland Revenue is warning its customers to beware of aggressive telephone scammers who are targeting people for money and threatening actions such as deportation and prison if not paid.

"We have received numerous reports of scammers telephoning our customers claiming they owe money. The caller is threatened that if they don’t go to NZ Post within 30 minutes and pay, they will be deported, face court action or jail time,” said Pat Crawford, Acting Group Manager Customer Services at Inland Revenue.

The caller ID that appears when the scammer calls is identical to Inland Revenue’s Customer Services number, 0800 227 774. The scammer then aggressively demands money and directs the person to go to a New Zealand Post shop counter where they can deposit the money into a fake bank account. In some cases, people have been directed to purchase a Prezzie card and load it with the amount owed.

“Just to be clear, Inland Revenue will never call customers from our 0800 number or demand payments to be made through NZ Post, a Prezzie card or within 30 minutes,” said Mr Crawford.

“Recently, a customer contacted Inland Revenue who had been instructed to make a payment. Out of fear they went to a NZ Post shop to pay the money demanded. They only realised they were being scammed when asked to load their money onto a Prezzie card. Since this time, the victim has continued to be called by the scammer and abused in a foreign language.

“This is an example of how aggressive and threating these scammers are. They are deliberately using Inland Revenue’s brand to trick customers into paying money they do not owe.

“If you are suspicious, hang up. If you have replied to and given money or provided personal details please contact your bank or credit card provider immediately. To help protect your identity it is a good idea to enrol in Inland Revenue’s Voice ID service and register for an online myIR account,” said Mr Crawford.

Inland Revenue continues to work with phone companies and the New Zealand Police’s National Cyber Security Centre to track this hoax number and shut it down as soon as possible.

Find out more about email or phishing and phone scams

To report suspicious phone calls that target Inland Revenue customers, please send an email tophishing@ird.govt.nz.

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