New Zealanders are being warned about a spate of scam phone callers saying they are from Inland Revenue and trying to recover unpaid taxes.
Inland Revenue has received notification of the scam calls from more than 500 customers all over the country, with the first report on Tuesday morning.
Customer Services Group Manager Eleanor Young says the scammers generally allege the recipient of the call are being investigated for historic fraud or evasion, before threatening them with legal action.
In some cases people are told they must pay a debt urgently or face jail, and to avoid that fate are told to ring a Wellington number (04 830 2441) and speak to a Kenneth Matthews or a person with a similar sounding name.
"These callers are quite clever and are particularly aggressive, so people need to be wary of being caught out," Ms Young says.
"They identify themselves in the way an Inland Revenue representative would, and request personal information including the person's IRD number in a very convincing and confident manner."
"Some customers who are used to dealing with Inland Revenue have received these calls and say the scammers almost sound legit."
Calls have been made to both landline and mobile numbers, and messages have been left on customers' voicemails stating they are subject to criminal action for tax fraud.
"We recommend that if anyone receives a call of this nature they hang up and if they have any concerns to email firstname.lastname@example.org."
Inland Revenue would never ask for bank account or PIN numbers over the phone in order to process a monetary payment.
"Customers should always be totally satisfied that they are talking to a genuine Inland Revenue staff member before handling over any personal details."