New Zealanders have been targeted by a new scam in which callers pretend they are police and tell people they are being investigated by the IRD (Inland Revenue) for not paying taxes, proceeding to threaten to arrest those who do not pay up.
The police have said that automated messages are recorded in a New Zealand accent and ask the caller for their name and IRD number. One version of the call said “This is the Police, you owe money to Inland Revenue. If you don’t pay you will be arrested. Please call 04 889 0505.”
Traci Houpapa, a prominent businesswoman and agribusiness leader, was one of those targeted –“Yesterday I received a phone message from 04 889 0348 saying that it was the IRD, I was behind on the taxes, there was a warrant out for my arrest and to return the call.
“My accountant phoned, talked with the person who answered – it was clearly a scam.”
Some phone calls also warned of government prosecution whilst pointing out that payment could not be accepted over the phone, and others claim IRD paperwork has been unsigned and that a warrant for arrest may be issued.
According to recordings obtained by the Herald, one person found a voice message on their landline saying “IRD calling, case number TX7245, there is a warrant out for your arrest.”
An IRD spokesperson has spoken out and warned against calls like such, recommending that people should either hang up or double check a caller’s details for any calls which sound illegitimate, and proceed to contact local police if they feel they have been victimized.
They told the Herald, “Inland Revenue will never telephone, email or knock on someone’s door regarding a tax refund. We also won’t ask for bank account details over the phone in order to receive a tax refund or pay a tax debt.”