There has been an increase in reports of scammers pretending to be from the ATO and threatening people with arrest if the outstanding tax debt is not paid immediately.
Scammers can make the calls look like they originate from a legitimate ATO phone number with the use of technology. The number appears on caller ID and leaves voice mail messages that request for call backs. The number may also be directed by *69 for call back functionality. The calls look valid and frequently use the numbers 6216 111, 1800 467 033 as well as individual ATO staff members.
Even if the call seems legitimate, remember that the ATO won’t present a phone number on caller ID, threaten anyone with arrest or demand immediate payment, especially through pre-paid credit cards, gift cards or bitcoin. The ATO will always allow you to speak with your tax agent or advisor. You should never call back on a number they provide.
Other scams include emails from a fake myGov email address, asking people to fill out an application to get a tax refund. Remember not to click anywhere in the email because it has a malicious link which will direct you to a fake tax refund form to steal personal information. Be cautious when opening attachments or clicking links in emails.
To identify a scam email, check if it does not include your name, if it comes unexpectedly and contains poor spelling and grammar. It may ask you to click a link that appears to be the myGov website but when you hover over it, it contains a link different from a my.gov.au address. Remember that the ATO does not have an online tax refund form and all your tax affairs should be done in your genuine myGov account. The ATO will never ask for your personal credit card details. Make sure you receive a code via SMS every time you sign in to your myGov account.
For more information on how to avoid being a victim to these scams, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
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