'I felt like a criminal': How one Aussie woman was scammed

Mona Jafari thought she received a legitimate call from the tax office about a huge tax debt.

“This is Edward Hoffman, the very second you receive this message just give me a call back,” a voicemail said. 

Ms Jafari believed the caller was somebody from the tax office, and they left their employee number and told her if she had any issues she could phone back.

Ms Jafari, an IT specialist, was told she was being monitored and her passport had been frozen over a big tax debt.

“A deal was being given to me that if I was to produce approximately $3000 dollars that I would be fine,” she told 7 News. 

She was kept on the line and pushed to make a cash payment.

“I said to myself, ‘wow I feel like a criminal’,” she said.

The scammers then phoned back for more money, claiming they had been disconnected on the earlier call, and that’s when Ms Jafari twigged.

Mona Jafari received a call from a scammer pretending to be from the tax office. Source: 7 News

While all of us try to keep up with technology, scammers are staying ahead better than most and targeting a growing number of Australians.

Tens of thousands of people lost almost $350 million in just one year.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission deputy chair Delia Rickard said scammers often hid behind a trusted government department of financial institution.

Last year Australians lost $340 million to scammers, $40 million more than the year before.

Investment scams were the most effective, taking $64 million, followed by dating and romance scams, which stole $42 million.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission deputy chair Delia Rickard said people should be wary when giving out personal information. Source: 7 News

According to the latest figures, every successful scam costs victims on average $6500.

But some people have lost more than a million dollars to them.

Experts advise people to be suspicious and take the time to check if it is a legitimate call.

“Hang up the phone and find the number and call back,” Ms Jafari said.

Mr Rickard said people should never provide personal information, financial bank account information or credit card information to somebody contacting you out of the blue.

For more information visit www.scamwatch.gov.au.