Watch out for ATO Impersonation Scams

|by Linda Bergesen|Taxation and Compliance

If you are one of the many taxpayers who have lodged your personal income tax return by 31 October, it is vital to be aware of the ATO Impersonation Scams.

By claiming the taxpayers have tax debts that need to be paid immediately to avoid being arrested, scammers have been successful in collecting large amounts of money. In August alone, a total of $227,015 was reportedly paid to scammers, according to the ATO Impersonation scam report.

Scammers have been known to contact taxpayers using both telephone calls (91%) or text messages (6%) pretending to be from the ATO. There are also phishing emails being sent out (3%).

The ATO have recently released several scam alerts, and provided guidance on how you should be protecting your information:

  • October 2020 email scam – JobKeeper and backing business investment claims
  • September 2020 phone and SMS scams – fake tax debt
  • July 2020 SMS and email scams – verify your myGov details
  • June 2020 phone scam – threatening arrest and requesting personal details
  • May 2020 phone scam – requesting bank account details for the JobKeeper payment
  • March 2020 SMS scam – tax refund notification
  • February 2020 SMS scam – 8% bonus for people affected by natural disasters

The ATO is strongly encouraging anyone who receive a message from the ATO asking for personal information, to phone them on 1800 008 540 to ensure it is legitimate. If you believe you have received a fraudulent request, you should report it by sending an email to reportemailfraud@ato.gov.au.

You can also click here for a summary of how to spot a scam and how to report it. Remember to stay vigilant and know who you are corresponding with.

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