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The ATO has recently warned that it is continuing to see instances of scam emails, SMS messages or telephone calls where criminals try to steal money or information from taxpayers. These scams can be very convincing and many individuals fall victim to these each year.
To avoid becoming a victim, it is important that you know some of the common characteristics of a scam so that you can keep a sharp eye and ear out for potential fraudsters.
Generally, scam communications:
– are unsolicited
– are pushy and can be intimidating, threatening arrests or penalties if payment for an unknown tax debt is not made immediately
– demand payment in full and in some instances via unconventional means such as iTunes cards, cash transfers or gift vouchers
– ask you for your personal or financial information or to confirm information they pretend they have
– can often be poorly worded, and (for written scams) could contain spelling and grammatical mistakes
– may promise you a tax refund in exchange for a payment or personal information
– may contain an attachment or fake links requesting you to lodge a form – opening these attachments or links can cause you to download spyware or a virus.
How to report a scam
If a scammer or someone claiming to be from the ATO has contacted you and you are unsure of the legitimacy, let us know.
For phone scams you should:
– hang up immediately
– call the ATO’s dedicated scam reporting line 1800 008 540 between 8am to 6pm EST, Monday to Friday.
For email scams you should:
– refrain from clicking on links or opening attachments
– forward the email to [email protected]
And of course, please feel free to check with us should you have any doubts or concerns.
DISCLAIMER: All information provided in this publication is of a general nature only and is not personal financial or investment advice. It does not take into account your particular objectives and circumstances. No person should act on the basis of this information without first obtaining and following the advice of a suitably qualified professional advisor. To the fullest extent permitted by law, no person involved in producing, distributing or providing the information in this publication (including Taxpayers Australia Incorporated, each of its directors, councillors, employees and contractors and the editors or authors of the information) will be liable in any way for any loss or damage suffered by any person through the use of or access to this information. The Copyright is owned exclusively by Taxpayers Australia Ltd (ABN 96 075 950 284).