Grandmother's warning: Tax scammers targeting elderly

A GOLDEN Beach grandmother sat for hours in her car as aggressive telephone scammers tricked her into sending them $17,000.

Her fraud, as well as the scamming of $85,000 from a 58-year-old Maroochydore woman, have been reported to Sunshine Coast Police in the past week.

It has prompted renewed warnings about double-checking information received from strangers.

Both were scammed by people purporting to be collecting tax debts.

A ruthless operator threatened the Golden Beach 68-year-old with prison and asset freezes as he convinced her she was being investigated for defrauding the tax department.

The self-funded retiree yesterday recounted her story in the hope she could stop others from being tricked.

She said she had returned home from a trip away with her husband on Monday night to find about 10 voice messages about the issue.

The grandmother called the number back on Tuesday morning and was told by a man with a foreign accent she had to send money to stop pending court action.

She was told to stay on the phone, which is why she sat in her car for three hours as the man kept pressuring her.

There were two payments totalling $7000 made on Tuesday and a third payment to a bank account of $10,000 made on Wednesday.

When the man demanded more, the woman finally said: "I can't."

She rang the Australian Taxation Office and was told there was no investigation.

"I was thinking, 'I want to clear my name'," she said.

"I was totally sucked in."

She also sent them a bank statement and her email address as well as her driver licence details.

How that information will be used is an ongoing concern.

Sunshine Coast District Criminal Investigation Branch officer-in-charge Daren Edwards said the Maroochydore woman had sent various amounts of cash between August 27 and September 3 after being threatened with arrest for a tax debt.

Detective Senior Sergeant Edwards said it was frustrating for police because there was little they could do to recoup the money.

He felt sorry for the victims but called for more vigilance.

"These things wouldn't happen if people just used some common sense," Det Snr Sgt Edwards said.


Topics:  australian taxation office crime editors picks phone police scam tax

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