A victim of an aggressive phone scam which is targeting Inland Revenue customers for money or threatening them with deportation or prison if they don't pay has been duped out of $6,500.
"We have now received at least 18 reports of scammers telephoning our customers claiming they owe money and we are working hard to shut this down," said Pat Crawford, Acting Group Manager Customer Services at Inland Revenue.
"The scam threatens the caller that if they don't go to NZ Post and make a deposit into what is a fake bank account, they will 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.
"Sadly, today another victim has fallen foul to this aggressive scam after he brought 11 Prezzie cards at a service station, loaded them with cash and gave the cards unique numbers to the scammers who took his money. He also deposited the remaining $6,500 he was told he owed into a fake bank account," said Mr Crawford.
The caller ID that appears when the scammer telephones is identical to Inland Revenue's 0800 number.
"We are taking this extremely seriously. I cannot stress enough, 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," said Mr Crawford.
Inland Revenue will never call its customers from its 0800 number or demand payments to be made through NZ Post or a Prezzie card.
"Some victims are telling us they are continuing to be called by the scammer and abused in a foreign language. This is how aggressive and threating these scammers are. "We continue our work with phone companies and the New Zealand Police's National Cyber Security Centre to track this hoax number and shut it down." said Mr Crawford.
To report suspicious phone calls that target Inland Revenue customers, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.