Tax scams update: stay smart online and offline

Taxpayers need to be ever-vigilant about bogus calls, text messages and emails from scammers. Some scammers go to great lengths to deceive taxpayers, including impersonating government representatives on the phone, sending fraudulent emails and even creating fake websites.

The ATO reported that the most common type of scam is where the scammer demands payment for a fake tax debt or sends an email asking for personal information in order to pay out a refund. Not only do scammers try to steal money, they also try to steal identities. The Government has identified several cases of misuse of stolen personal information that have led to fraudulent income tax returns, as well as GST, superannuation and welfare frauds.

Fraud AlertIf you receive an email, a text message (SMS), or an unexpected phone call from “the ATO” claiming that you are entitled to a refund, or that you owe taxes, or that you must confirm, update or disclose confidential details, such as your tax file number, delete the message or hang up the phone. Do not click any links or download any attachments.

From time to time, the ATO itself will send emails, text messages or official social media updates to advise you of new services. However, the ATO’s messages will never request personal or financial information by SMS or email, and its representatives will never ask you to pay money into a personal bank account.

If you receive a call, an email or an SMS and are concerned about providing personal information, you can call the ATO on 1800 008 540 (8 am to 6 pm, Monday to Friday), forward the suspicious email to [email protected], or check your myGov account for any message from the ATO. You can also contact our office for more information if you have concerns.