April 28, 2022


Author: Michael Crooks
Category: Manage Finances

When Adelaide Uber driver Bhaumik Brahmbhatt got a call on his mobile from a woman claiming to be from the Australian Tax Office, he was immediately suspicious.

According to the “ATO officer”, who had an Australian accent, there had been a mistake made on Bhaumik’s tax return and he owed thousands of dollars.

“I said ‘I don’t believe you,’” said Bhaumik, an Indian immigrant who has lived in Adelaide for 13 years.

“But then she said, ‘Your tax agent will call you in 10 minutes.’ After that, I got a call from my accountant’s mobile number. Then I believed it.”

“In February alone, Australians lost $38 million to scams.”

Bhaumik is one of the many Australians who have fallen prey to elaborate scam operators. In February alone, Australians lost $38 million to scams, according to Australian agency ScamWatch. More than 18,000 cases of scams were reported that month.

Bhaumik, who spoke to vanessastoykov.com.au as a warning to others, lost his entire savings to the scam in 2018, in what was a complex and technologically advanced operation.

When Bhaumik received the call that appeared to be coming from his tax accountant’s mobile, the scammers were employing software known as “caller ID spoofing”, according to the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

The software allows the scammer to disguise their identity or appear to be calling from an official bank, business or agency.

On the other end of the line was a man who called himself “Sanjeev” and claimed to work in Bhaumik’s accountant’s office.

“He said, ‘I’m working with your agent, but he’s in a meeting at the moment,’” recalls Bhaumik.

The man then told Bhaumik to do whatever the ATO wanted. A serious error had been made on Bhaumik’s tax return, and it needed to be rectified.

“The man said, ‘Anything you pay, we will reimburse you tomorrow,’” says Bhaumik.

By now, Bhaumik believed that he was in serious, legal trouble due to the mistake made by his tax agent – but that all would be OK if he just did what they asked.

“There were three people on the line,” he says. “One was the person talking to me, one said they were the police, and one was an ‘ATO’ person.”

Bhaumik also says there was a police car, which appeared to be following him on the street.

“I was very scared,” he said.

The people told him he owed $90,000, but if he paid $8,000 the matter could be resolved that day. After he paid the amount, via a bitcoin ATM (using a QR code that the scammers had sent to his phone), he was told he had to pay a further $12,000 to see “fraud charges” against him dropped.

Having only $12,000 in savings, he borrowed $8,000 from a friend to complete the entire $20,000 transaction.

It wasn’t until later that day when he called his accountant, who had no idea of what he was talking about, that he realised he was the victim of a devastating scam.

“I felt like I’d lost everything,” he says. “My mental health was not good. I had to start again from the beginning.”

Bhaumik now works at SA Pathology but continues to operate his driveshare business to recover what he lost, and pay off his debt to his friend.

“It’s taken a long time to get everything back,” he said. “I tell my story to warn others. I don’t want them to be victims.”

His advice is simple: don’t trust anyone who cold calls you about tax or your finances, even if the caller ID displays the right number.

“I think they’re very intelligent to pull off such a scam,” he said. “It’s a pity they are not using their minds for something else.”

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  • From Kids Debit Card on Changing Conversations You Need to Have with Your Kids

    The goal of the following article is to assist parents have meaningful conversations with their children about money and financial literacy by providing them with practical guidance and useful recommendations. The author discusses goal-setting, budgeting, saving, and investing, and offers advice on how to have these discussions with people of varying ages. The essay is informative and easy to read, making it a valuable tool for parents who want to teach their children about money.

    For More Info:-https://busykid.com/kids-debit-card/

    • From admin on Changing Conversations You Need to Have with Your Kids

      Thanks for your comments!

  • From Gale Pickles on It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times

    So enjoyed this, I will share if that’s okay with you, many of my friends will benefit from your journey.
    Many Blessings for 2023

  • From ScottViabe on Three ways to embrace change to improve your life

    Hi all! This is a good site.

  • From David Horton on How Finfluencers are teaching millennials and Gen Z about money

    And once again the regulator finds a way to stop ordinary people from getting advice by placing high costs on people who do the right thing. If a finfluencer is actually trying to scam someone, it would not be hard to operate outside Australian jurisdiction.

    • From admin on How Finfluencers are teaching millennials and Gen Z about money

      They definitely have a place. People need advice and many are working on it to be more accessible. Watch this space!

  • From Camelia on IT'S NOT TOO LATE FOR YOU

    It’s never too late to learn something new and to start all over again. Unless you’re dead, you can do it.

    • From admin on IT'S NOT TOO LATE FOR YOU

      So true

Each day I wake up excited to inspire everyday people to open up and take control of their money, regardless of their history, goals, or savings amount. About Vanessa >>


Discover a new way of seeing
life & money.

Download the first 3 chapters for free


Related Articles

Can a ‘saver’ truly love an ‘entertainer’?

“Now this is more like it!” Stacy declared as she stepped onto the generous balcony of the penthouse apartment. With uninterrupted water views, it would be perfect for entertaining. Paul released her fingertips as she twirled onto the balcony....

The Raw + Honest Conversation You Need to Have with Your Financial Adviser

We avoid conversations about money with those closest to us for a long time, but many of us leave consulting a professional until it’s too late. If you’ve made it this far, congratulations! Getting real about your finances...

Why 7 Minutes a Day Can Change Your Life

I have spent my career making educational content that explains concepts in financial services easier to understand and relate to. Have I succeeded? I have people who tell me their savings got them through COVID. I've had people say they got a...

Chapter 2: The Eye-Opening + Confronting Conversation You Need to Have with Your Partner

A couple of man drinking coffee and discussing

If you’ve lied to your partner about money—sneaky credit card use, being deceptive about how much you paid for something, buying shoes or stocks without telling, secretly slipping some extra cash to the kids when you said you wouldn’t—you aren’t alone.