ATO Issues Scam Warning

The ATO has issued several warnings recently regarding a number of scams targeting taxpayers.

Firstly, they have warned the public of a phone scam in which “fraudsters are intimidating people into paying a fake tax debt over the phone”. This scam involves the callers threatening people with arrest if they do not   comply and make the 'payment'. The Assistant Commissioner of Taxation, Thomas Ryan, has urged people to be vigilant, saying the ATO would never contact taxpayers about a debt in such a threatening manner.

Ryan advised “We take your privacy seriously. We urge you to be alert to these types of scams and never send money or give your financial details to someone you don’t know and trust,” said Mr Ryan.

Anyone who receives a phone call from the Tax Office, but is concerned about providing their personal information over the phone, should ask for the caller’s name and then phone them back through the ATO switchboard on 13 11 42.

In another statement, the ATO warns of “Scam emails, SMS or phone calls where criminals try to steal money or information from unsuspecting individuals and tax professionals. These scams can be very convincing.” They suggest some of the common characteristics of a scam include:

  • they are unsolicited and do not address the recipient by name
  • they ask for personal or financial information
  • they are poorly worded, contain spelling and grammatical mistakes
  • they promise the recipient money
  • often contain an attachment or fake links requesting the recipient to lodge a form. Opening these attachments or links can lead to spyware or a virus being downloaded.

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