Beware of tax scams: commissioner

TAX Commissioner Michael D’Ascenzo has reminded the community to watch out for tax-related scams during this tax time.

“Typically the ATO sees a spike in scams this time of year. Anyone can be the target of a scam, and sometimes scams are so sophisticated and authentic in appearance that even the most alert can be caught out,” Mr D’Ascenzo said.

“Scammers can use a range of methods including phone calls, letters, text messages, emails, bogus websites, computer viruses and even false advertisements to try to fool people into giving away their money, passwords and personal details.

“Once scammers have your personal information they can steal your identity and commit fraud against you, with potentially serious consequences for you, such as the theft of all your funds.

“The ATO is aware of a number of scams currently in operation where scammers contact victims claiming to be from the ATO and offer them a tax refund in exchange for payment and their personal details.

“The ATO will never ask you to pay money to receive your tax refund or any special government payment. The ATO does not ask for personal information such your bank account details using email.

“We also do not charge you for the use of our online tools such as e-tax; they are available to you online free.

"If something seems suspicious, too good to be true, asks you for personal details or cannot be verified by contacting an official source, it is likely to be a scam and you should report it.

“The ATO uses a range of intelligence to crack down on scammers including reports from the community. If you think you have been the victim of a scam, contact the ATO client contact centre immediately by phoning 13 28 61 (8.00am to 6.00pm, Monday to Friday) who will be able to assist.

You can also report suspected email scams to the ATO by forwarding the email to ReportEmailFraud@ato.gov.au.

Common scams reported to the ATO

  • Cold-call emails asking victims to pay money for or provide their personal details in order to obtain a tax refund through often authentic looking ATO websites and/or click on links from authentic looking ATO emails and/or asking victims to fill out attachments to authentic looking ATO emails (which often contain virus software designed to steal personal information) in order to obtain a tax refund.
  • Cold-call phone calls asking victims to pay money for or provide their personal details in order to obtain a tax refund.
  • Fake e-tax notification emails encouraging victims to ‘click links’ to download other malware including malicious versions of e-tax.

More information on how to protect yourself from scams, including recent scams, can be found at www.ato.gov.au/onlinesecurity.
 



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