IRD phone scammers extract thousands

Last updated 17:23 14/08/2014

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Telephone scammers are targeting Inland Revenue (IRD) customers with threats of deportation and court action - fleecing $6500 from one person.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) put out a warning to the public to be aware of a person calling and threatening them with deportation or court action if they do not deposit money into a bank account.

IRD has received at least 18 reports of scammers telephoning customers claiming they owe money and to go to a post shop to deposit it, MBIE said.

One person put $6500 into the fake account and in some cases people have been directed to purchase a Prezzie card and load it with the amount owed.

What made it confusing for some people was the fact the caller ID from the number was identical to that of IRD's 0800 number.

IRD would never threaten to deport someone, ask someone to pay money in order to release a tax return or cold call someone to demand money or promise a tax refund, MBIE said

Anyone who thinks they may have been scammed should call their bank immediately to suspend their accounts, although if they have deposited cash it will be difficult to retrieve the money.

Earlier this month, police said immigrants living in Auckland had been phoned by scammers pretending to be the IRD and promised a "good citizen tax refund" from the Government.

The calls were being made from numbers that appeared to be from within New Zealand but originated from overseas, possibly from India or Malaysia.

The scammer asked the victim to prove they're a good citizen by making a payment or donation to an overseas bank account through Western Union or Moneygram.

MBIE said people can report suspicious emails or phone calls to phishing@ird.govt.nz.

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