July 22, 2016


Member for Buninyong, Geoff Howard today warned Ballarat residents to be vigilant against scam phone calls targeting the region.

Mr Howard said his office received such a call this morning from someone purporting to be a representative of the Australian Tax Office, who threatened legal action if personal information was not provided to the caller.

“Scammers are becoming increasingly sophisticated, making threatening demands followed by an urgent request for personal information,” Mr Howard said.

“They typically target the elderly or the most vulnerable in the community seeking to exploit them for financial gain.

“If you receive a threat or demand that sounds extreme or absurd; the likelihood is that it will be fraudulent.

“The particular scam call to my office focused on providing a scenario were immediate action is required to waive the threatened action.

“This prays on the vulnerable by not providing an opportunity for the victim to assess the situation before responding.

“Often the scam caller will phone again, threatening to escalate the matter or the so-called penalty if a response is not provided.

“If you do not know the identity of the caller, it’s always best to ask for details of who called you, and say that you will get independent advice about the matters raised before deciding whether or not to respond.

“If you fear that you have become a victim of a scam or your privacy breached, immediately notify your financial institution or other relevant organisation and report it to the police.”

For information on scams or on protecting your identity, visit https://www.consumer.vic.gov.au/resources-and-education/scams

You can also report scams to Consumer Affairs Victoria by calling 1300 55 81 81.