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Off-shoring – the ultimate evil against Australian jobs

If the off-shoring of 400 ATO jobs isn’t bad enough, writes Sir ScotchMistery, then perhaps the off-shoring of personal and sensitive client information is.

Late last week I had a call from a private number and upon answering I found myself speaking to a man with an Indian accent. I have to confess his English was perfectly nuanced and whilst the conversation didn’t develop to the point where I would hear any examples of idiomatic English, suffice it to say that I was fairly certain he would have that down pat as well.

I have no idea what his name was, though he did give it, but he introduced himself as calling from the ATO about a tax debt of less than $500 from my self-managed superannuation fund.

For a moment a note of humour raised its head as I wondered whether he would be one of the people calling Rupert Murdoch or Gina Rinehart about their current debt to the Australian economy. I have to admit I found that a doubtful scenario. I firmly believe that nobody in the ATO would dare call either of those people about their tax debts, any more than a member of Parliament would, including that arbiter of all things financial, Scott Morrison.

Once he had explained to me why he was calling I also had some explaining to do. I pointed out that I was not going to talk to anybody in India about my personal tax issues in Australia for several reasons, but the main one was that he could not prove who he was. As far as I was concerned he could well be a scam artist and as such I would not be speaking to him.

He explained to me that he was actually calling from Docklands in Melbourne, upon which notification I asked him who won the football on the weekend? He laughingly replied that he was not all that good with football, and as far as he was concerned (my words not his), that was a perfectly good reason not to be able to tell me what the football scores were irrespective the fact that you couldn’t walk past a news agency in Melbourne, nor in fact anywhere in Victoria, and not know the football scores from the weekend.

This is going to be an ongoing problem for those of us in Australia who actually care about the country.

Bearing in mind, the number of politicians promises offered to we stupid voters which have “jobs” as the final reason for a decision about whether to approve another enviro-rapists like Adani, Gina Rinehart, Twiggy Forest or Clive Palmer, the ATO at the behest of Scott Morrison off-shored 400 positions, and we poor mortals are expected to trust every wog* who rings up expecting instant obedience about a tax debt.

Not in my house Mr Morrison you idiot. We have been dealing with scams in the IT industry for the last 5 years. They are able to be started because we Australians are used to talking to Indians on behalf of our banks. Almost without exception, the scams originate in India. Only in India and Philippines have we seen examples of our credit card details being stolen and sold.

My view now is that if I am talking to the ATO and there is even a whiff of Indian about them, I will ask to be transferred to one of their (actual) Australian colleagues. As long as they cannot extend proof of their location, their position, then I am not required to talk to them, and will refuse to do so under the Privacy Act.

*worthy oriental gentlemen/women

 

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26 comments

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  1. Sir ScotchMistery

    Please don’t get grumpy about “wog”. In its pure original form, it really was, “worthy oriental gentleman”.

  2. keerti

    Probably the western oriental gentleman spoke better English than you do.

  3. gee

    the answer to these kinds of calls is “thank you for your call, now can you please go away and send whatever it is you want in written form and no, i am not prepared to give you my personal details.

  4. keerti

    I went looking for historical origins of the term WOG, the one I liked best was Whole Of Government. What else fits the present buch of useles….bastards?

  5. Hugh Jurgen

    Sir Scotch Mistery,
    you didn’t happen to get the telephone number of the Sub Continental operator did you?
    If this tax wallah can call all the way from India over a $500 query, perhaps he could get on the blower to Canberra and ask them to look into tax evasion case reference # 716924 concerning a case 10,000 times larger than your $500 debt.
    Back in 2015 I got a computer message saying the ATO investigate every report of tax evasion – but as they haven’t contacted me for further details all I can surmise is that they have run a conflict check and decided that those involved in the tax evasion are too big for the depleted resources of the ATO and as such are not to be investigated.

  6. Michael Taylor

    After visiting my accountant last year and being told that my tax bill would be around $xxx, I received an email from what was alleged to be the ATO telling me my tax bill was $xxx (which was a figure fairly damn close to what my accountant had calculated). The email even had my tax file number, so I presumed it was legit. Alarm bells rang when my credit card number was asked for. I printed off the email and took it to my local ATO office. It was confirmed to be a scam.

    But I’d like to know how they got my personal information and the amount of tax I had to pay.

  7. Kaye Lee

    My husband also received a call from someone purporting to be from the ATO telling him he had a tax debt. As I am the person who does all our financials I knew this to be untrue. It is also not how the ATO operates. Beware!

  8. Miriam English

    The amount of money shipped out of Australia each year through scams is astonishing. Billions of dollars, I’m told. Mostly those scammed are older folk who lose their life-savings. There are some incredibly sophisticated ones around.

    One that a friend got taken by a little while back worked like this: someone rang to inform that their bank account had been hacked and that they needed to change the password, but please don’t give me the password. That isn’t a safe thing to do. Instead, ring the bank and ask them to change your password. The person being scammed then rings their bank and changes the password. A short time later they find they’ve lost everything. Can you see how it works? The bastards don’t actually hang up after the initial call, keeping the line open, so when you think you are calling your bank, your dialtones are being recorded by them so they can use it to dial the bank themselves. They play the brrr-brrr sound of a phone ringing, then the person on the other end pretends to answer the phone and you give them all your details including the password to access your account.

    The easiest way to show they are indeed scammers? Ask them what bank are they calling on behalf of. Another way to check is to dial your own phone number instead of the bank. That should give an engaged number because you are on the phone. If someone answers then you know you have a scammer. Another way to check is to dial a friend whose voice you know.

    Don’t ever conduct any money transactions over the phone. The caller may be genuine, but if so they won’t mind you being cautious. It is the scammers who will urge you on and insist that they are safe.

    I find particularly annoying the scum who call saying they are from Microsoft ringing to inform you of a security problem with your machine. They have caught out a number of elderly women that I know. (All my computers run Linux, which is much safer than Microsoft Windows.) When they call me I ask them if their mother would be proud of the fact that they steal money from people. One scammer who called me, when I asked that of her, burst into shouting flaming obscenities at me over the phone. I hung up on her.

    One scam that I got stung by was a real Australian telecommunications company which used sales people in India. They Indian guy I spoke to lied about the features of the phone service. I agreed to switch, then to find it was all bullshit. The savings weren’t there and I was now committed to a 2 year contract (I’d been told there was no contract). I cancelled it inside the 3 day cooling off period required by Australian law (I always thought it was 7 days), but they refused to cancel. It took me phoning them almost every day for more than a month to finally get it cancelled. And that was only after the telecommunications ombudsman threatened them and I’d cancelled my VISA card so they couldn’t get payments anymore.

    One of the best ways to protect yourself is to get on the “Do Not Call” list. This stops sales people from calling you, under penalty of thousands of dollars in fines. You will then only get calls from charities, surveys, ordinary people (friends and acquaintances), and scammers. The first thing I do when getting a call is to ask who is calling. If they just give a name and I don’t know them I interrupt their spiel and ask them what company they represent. When they give me a name I point out that I’m on the Do Not Call list and they face fines of thousands of dollars. I used to take part in surveys, but I do less often now because many seem to be thinly disguised excuses for marketing. Charities are another class of call I used to take, but now I politely excuse myself, explaining that I live below the poverty line and already give to several charities.

    Get on the Do Not Call List: 1300 792 958 or http://donotcall.gov.au

  9. Alison White

    It’s a scam. My elderly friend got taken – you need to pay them a ‘small’ sum to release the money due to their use of ‘cheaper’ overseas lawyers. LOLOLOL

  10. Douglas Pye

    In my opinion the whole concept of ” outsourcing” was really tainted from the beginning. I was involved in garment manufacturing at the time when local manufacturers were induced to relocate their operations to the Philippines, largely on the basis of helping to compete price wise with (mainly) the likes of Taiwan.

    Over the decades since then outsourcing has degenerated to the extent that e.g. local brands are manufactured in Bangladeshi owned factories and sold here at markups in multiples of 100’s %. – whilst the labour is paid a pittance by our standards!. Effectively taking “outsourcing” from being simply ‘competitive’ , to being ‘ highly profitable ‘ for the local trader !!

    Thus the whole concept of ‘outsourcing’ has now degenerated to extracting profit from the likes of the Taxation Office Administration ?? ! ….. Thus, when we consider “Privatization” in the light of “Outsourcing” a somewhat different picture emerges ! ….. Continue along this path and is one entitled to wonder about the future without Local “jobs” as such ?? …. and ‘cost of living’ into the future ??

    The thought of the Mum & Dad enterprise opportunity the Government is trying to sell, leads me to seeing a ‘profitable’ time ahead for the Franchise Industry which could make a “Profit” from selling Franchises – where Mum & Dad virtually Buy a Job.!! … Need I mention the usually longer hours involved etc.?? … risks !

    Whilst we have a Government focused on the ” Profit ” element of work, humanities flee the scene !! ….. Last night on Lateline I noticed a remark about the CSIRO and some downsizing, because of the lack of “Profit” ….. that Word again !

  11. Jack Russell

    Succinct and useful post Miriam, thank you.

    I appreciate that telemarketing is a job that some people need, but at the same time I resent my phone being hijacked in this way. As for scammers…no comment, or I’ll be modded.

  12. Clean livin

    Interestingly enough, I received a call from the ATO one Sunday night at 7:30pm, enquiringly if my tax refund should be put into my bank account.

    Obviously a scam, so before they continued, I replied”yes” and hung up.

    Reported the scam to ATO following day, and lo-behold, it was a genuine call.

    Thanks for the Sunday Night Service ATO

  13. Maureen Walton (@maureen_walton)

    I just have a great laugh on scammers now and they do not know how to reply except to hung up fast…..What else can you do it as it is an invasion of my privacy and not much I can do about it. As for Jobs what Jobs in rural area I live not far from Melbourne there are no jobs anywhere and it takes ages and ages to apply to Centrelink for some sort of payment I am not talking about youth either.

  14. Sir ScotchMistery

    In fact the caller was genuinely calling from the ATO, and I was aware of the amount owing. I had been waiting for the SMSF 2014 return to be completed and hadn’t been informed by my former accountants that it had been done, ergo, they put the return through in about November last year, and since it wasn’t paid, the ATO called.

    Guys this post wasn’t about the scams so much as the fact that our rulers have outsourced the jobs to anywhere. If it was in Australia I wouldn’t be so concerned, but the fact is that our privacy is at huge risk, as long as this is the case. You ATO account has everything needed to create an identity in about 5 minutes flat.

    I had a call a short time ago from a mate who worked in the ATO call centre, which may be of use. When they call, ask for a reference number for the call and n ote it down. Then call the ATO back from the white pages, (there are several different numbers), quote the reference number and then proceed.

    I like this one because according to my mate, the ATO hates people doing this as it skews the KPI’s for the call centre.

    And for the last note Keerti, well done getting all those words in one go and not a single error in your spelling. Gold star and a good boy pat on the head for you. Perhaps soon you will begin adding something to the debate, instead of being a stringer for Scotty Morrison, well known supporter of education for the lower classes wishing to join the LNP. 🙂

  15. jimhaz

    I can understand a company engaging in outsourcing OS. They have no responsibility to invest in Australia, so they go where the best value is assessed as being.

    Governments however have a direct and clear responsibility to the community. Under no circumstances should they EVER be outsourcing core service related work. It should not even be a legal option, and any service contracts they have should also exclude substantial OS outsourcing.

    The big problem is the multiplier effect. OS outsourcing is a 100% leakage from the multiplier effect.

    So 30 million spent OS on 400 jobs provides only the value of the service being provided.

    The same 30 million spend for the same service in Australia gets recirculated multiple times decreasing only through saving, taxation and goods imports.

    You can correctly say that 1 job created in India, means a loss of 1.5 or more jobs here. If the ATO outsources 400 jobs, then 600 people will go onto the unemployment queue.

    There is an obvious major negative economic loss. Incredibly LNP State govs are also moving towards outsourcing.

    Quite frankly the only reason to outsource government services is to obtain a fraudulent commission. It would not surprise me if some are getting rich via hidden paybacks for signing outsourcing contracts.

    Either that or it is a case of promoting a neocon ideology without any form of reasoning being applied. In the case of Service First in NSW, it is hard to see how Baird could be that dumb.

    http://www.itnews.com.au/news/nsw-offshores-jobs-in-215m-servicefirst-outsourcing-404715

  16. Sir ScotchMistery

    It equates to every other thing done by corporate Australia though.

    Iron ore minors like that fat cow Gina Rinehart dig ore out of the ground and rather than value adding (refining, smelting etc), they just ship it off raw.

    The purchase by China of Cubbie Station and the Kidman properties also – own the land, grow the beef – return to Australia is the cost of raw materials (calves, hay, feed maybe), butcher the beef on site (anyone can build an abattoir if it’s not for local consumption), return to Australia nix because they 457 their own nationals at slave labour rates, put it on trucks and send to Darwin Port, return to Australia nix – 457 visa drivers, small amount in fuel purchase but little tax (trucks qualify for reduced fuel costs as they are being used for primary production), despatched via Port of Darwin – return to Australia nix since they own Port of Darwin.

    We’re stupid and we deserve to have this done to us because we don’t push hard enough.

    Try buying land in China. Or anywhere else in Asia for that matter.

  17. Miriam English

    The economics of outsourcing is really stupid, if you’re a government. Pay the money here in Australia and get it back through tax? Or outsource it overseas and lose it for good? Seems only an idiot would not see how it works. Oh. That’s right. We’re “governed” by idiots.

    It’s like that outrageous move by Maggie Thatcher to close their mines and instead buy their coal from overseas. What an utterly stupid idea that was.

    But, as you say, this is much worse, because they are sending offshore not just the money, but all our private information on all our citizens. It is utterly insane. Whoever thought this was a good idea needs to lose their job. I’ll warrant that it came down as an order from one of the Supreme Idiots in the current government.

  18. vicki

    Not the ATO this time, but last Thursday I had a call from someone (a female) stating that they were from Monash University. After a fairly long and for me unintelligble spiel (I have a hearing problem) I was asked to donate $200 to assist a disadvantaged student attend the university. I told the caller that as a pensioner I could not afford that sort of money and was then told I could pay by installments. I assumed that if the conversation went any further I would be asked for credit card details but at that point I just hung up. Now, I do not know if this was a geuine request or a scam. Any opinions or does anyone know about Monash University running this program. Oh, forgot to mention the caller knew my academic achievements at uni!!!

  19. Miriam English

    The recent centralisation of all our social security, tax, medical, (education?) information in one giant, irresistable data honeypot was a terrible idea. I wonder what information security genius advised the government on that. (It was probably to “save” money, thereby opening all security to being gutted and billions stolen.)

  20. Jack Russell

    The same one (ones) who demand our individual identity data on the next census, which will include linked metadata if you complete it online I expect.

  21. King1394

    Outsourcing and/or privatisation of national enterprises are two sides of the same coin. The government / philosophy insists that private industry will always be more efficient and this is how those economic efficiencies are achieved – closing down in Australia and transferring the work to countries where labour is exploited and the environment is trashed.
    I would like to know how much money has been lost due to the various privatisations which saw organisations which used to pay a dividend to Government become companies which neither pay their taxes nor provide employment within Australia

  22. Lindsay Stafford

    One of the problems that I often find when dealing with overseas call centres (irrespective of who called who) deals with the heavy accent that is often present. I have difficulty understanding the speaker which results in my questioning whether the speaker can understand me, and thus the question that I want dealt with.
    I do know that, in many cases, there is a substantial part of the word NO that they do not understand.

  23. Sir ScotchMistery

    Possibly that’s the answer.

    The call centres will eventually ask us to do surveys, so we say couldn’t understand sorry, and they have to retry.

    In terms of the census, I will be hosting a very very large overnight barbecue in Brisbane that weekend. No phones.

  24. Miriam English

    I’ll join you, Sir Scotch, though I fully expect to get lost on the way and never actually arrive (especially since I don’t know the destination).

    The tactic of not understanding is a good one. That’s very easy for me to implement as I’m half deaf anyway and the brain wiring for understanding normal speech is quite deficient, let alone accented speech. I already spend much of the time in phone conversations asking people to repeat what they said.

  25. Judith W

    Occasionally I play along to see how long it takes for the scammer to hang up. 45 minutes is my record and I still get a giggle remembering to voice on the other end saying “madam, observe your keyboard!”
    Yesterday the caller offered her number, said she was in Australia calling from Telstra, and gave a 9 digit number. When I asked if she was a scammer I heard her ask someone what that meant before she hung up. From now on that will be my first question.

  26. paul walter

    I just think of it as the perfect paradigm for the lunatic, vicious, scab mentality of the government. Reminds of Michael Stutchbury on Insiders, for a typical personification..an individual exposed as a fraud by Prof John Quiggin, who later took revenge on the economist when appointed editor at the Fin.

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