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21 July 2014

Scammers threaten prison time

Inland Revenue is warning of an aggressive phone scam.

Aggressive telephone scammers are targeting Inland Revenue customers and threatening their victims with deportation and prison if they don’t pay up.

Inland Revenue has received numerous reports of customers being told by scammers they owe money and need to make a payment at NZ Post within 30 minutes.

Inland Revenue's acting group manager customer services Pat Crawford said callers were told if they didn’t go to NZ Post within 30 minutes and put money in a fake bank account they would be deported, face court action or jail time.

In some cases, people have been directed to purchase a Prezzie card and load it with the amount owed.

The caller ID that appears when the scammer calls is identical to Inland Revenue’s Customer Services number, 0800 227 774.

“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,” Mr Crawford said.

Recently, a customer contacted Inland Revenue after being 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,” Mr Crawford said.

“This is an example of how aggressive and threatening 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.”

Inland Revenue is working 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.

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