23rd Jul, 2023
The Federal Government has warned of scammers targeting Australians ahead of tax time 2023. The number of scam reports received to date this year has topped 19,843 and impersonation scams are becoming increasingly commonplace.
These scams typically consist of unsolicited contact through SMS, email, or on social media offering refunds or help to solve tax issues. The ATO recommends not engaging with any unsolicited contact, ending any conversations as soon as possible and independently looking up the ATO’s number to initiate contact in order to verify any communication is genuine.
Tax time scams typically involve the impersonation of the ATO to obtain personal information or solicit unlawful payment. The common tricks tax scammers are using recently include:
Many scammers will use spoofing technology to show a real ATO or Australian phone number in the caller ID or call log. The ATO’s genuine calls will be in fact be shown as No Caller ID. The ATO will also never insist on a conference call with a third party, not even your own tax agent or law enforcement officers.
In terms of SMS and emails, the ATO will never send an unsolicited message asking you to return personal identifying information through these channels. It also does not send links or attachments for you to open or download.
If you think you may have fallen victim to a scam, you should contact your bank or financial institution, make an official report to local police, and report the scam through either the ATO’s phone hotline or its specific scams email address.
11th Apr, 2020
Victims of the recent natural disasters beware: there is an SMS scam circulating that purports to give you “a bonus” on your 2020 tax return. The scam urges victims to start the process by filling out a form and provides a link to a what looks like the genuine myGov website. According to the ATO, this is a classic case of scammers impersonating the ATO in an effort to collect personal information including names, birth dates, addresses, emails, phone numbers and online banking login details.
Once this information is obtained, scammers can use it to commit identify theft, including porting your phone, accessing your bank account, obtaining a loan in your name, lodging tax returns, stealing your superannuation and committing other types of fraud, or they could on-sell the information to others who may commit these offences.
If you receive a call from someone saying they are from the ATO but you aren’t sure, the best course of action is to hang up and call the ATO back on the appropriate number listed on its website, or to call your tax agent directly on their listed number to seek advice. While the ATO does send SMS messages and emails and calls taxpayers, it’s important to remember that the ATO will never:
If you’ve fallen victim to this or other tax-related scams, don’t be ashamed, but contact the ATO as quickly as possible. The sooner you notify the ATO, the better the outcome is likely to be.