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'They picked the wrong cookie:' Gladstone granny thwarts scammers

AN ELDERLY Gladstone woman was not to be trifled with when she received a call from a man with a "menacing voice" and intimidating her with threats of arrest.

Just days after Queensland Police issued an alert warning people of a dangerous new phone scam involving a call from a person impersonating the Australian Federal Police, a local lady received one of the confrontational calls.

"They told me if I don't do whatever they told me to do and if I didn't comply with taxation, they'd contact the police," the lady said.

"Well I'm a pensioner, so I don't do taxes!

"So they picked the wrong cookie this morning."

Police have warned the scam calls involve a person pretending to be an ATO officer telling the victim a warrant has been taken out for their arrest regarding non-payment of an ATO fine.

Reports state during the calls the person on the other end of the line is told to pay the fine or risk being arrested.

"It was a very menacing, male voice. I couldn't imagine an ATO person to talk like that," the woman said.

"I knew straight off I was in the clear so I just stayed on the line, happy to listen to his little spiel.

"But some people, older people, could get this call and completely panic. It's just cruel

"If I had panicked I might've paid that money ... It'd terrifying for some people."

The lady said there was no mention of a specific amount of money that needed to be paid. She was simply given a number to ring and told she'd be given further details there.

"It was a human voice, not automated or robot-like, but it didn't ask any questions," the lady said.

After she hung up the phone, the local called Police Link and told them what had happened.

"If I had phoned that second number they wanted me to call, police said that's when they'd have told me the amount I needed to pay to avoid them sending a warrant for my arrest," she said.

"But it's just ridiculous. There's obviously so many more steps that would be taken before it came to someone being arrested."

The woman said she was terrified older people like her might panic and do what the voice told them to do. She implored anyone who received the call to hang up immediately.

For further information on how to avoid becoming a victim and how to report these matters, visit the R U in Control page on the MyPolice blog.

Official ATO payment methods can be found here or by calling the ATO on 1800 008 540 to verify the authenticity of a call.

If you have information for police, contact Policelink on 131 444 or provide information using the online form. You can report information about crime anonymously to Crime Stoppers by calling 1800 333 000 or via crimestoppersqld.com.au.

Topics:  afp ato gladstone region police scam warning



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