Beware the scammers offering tax refunds

A SOPHISTICATED scammer syndicate is targeting vulnerable Hervey Bay retirees.

Calling from a New South Wales landline and purporting to be from the Australian Tax Office, the scammers try various tactics to coerce potential victims into handing over their bank details with the promise of receiving a GST refund.

Constant calls from Fraser Coast retirees prompted police to warn the scammers may have obtained some sort of database and they were deliberately targeting the region's elderly.

Within 24 hours, the Hervey Bay Police Station fielded more than a dozen calls from retirees who had received a similar spiel.

In all cases, the caller was a man who spoke with an Indian accent and could provide various personal details for each retiree in an attempt to prove his authenticity.

The refund offered differed, but most retirees were asked to pay $199 in fees.

Hervey Bay Police Senior Constable Roland Van Es said the details the caller could provide, and that all targets were pensioners, was of "great concern".

"The most important thing to remember is to never, ever give your bank details to anyone, no matter how credible they may sound, over the phone," Snr Const Van Es said.

"Scammers will often pose as representatives from banks and government departments so if you receive this kind of call, check with your financial institution before engaging with the caller further.

"If you still unsure about whether you have been targeted, visit your local police station to verify the caller's authenticity."

Topics:  hervey bay hervey bay police retirees scam tax

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