The ATO have released a warning that scammers are targeting Bushfire and Flood victims in an effort to collect personal information from people. They are after names, addresses, emails, phone numbers, Tax File Numbers and online banking details.
There is a text message being circulated that Australians are entitled to an 8% bonus on their 2020 tax return and they need to follow a link to fill out a form.
Once the recipient clicks on the link they are taken to a fake MyGov website which looks genuine.
Assistant ATO Commissioner Karen Foat said that “Last year, over 15,000 people reported to us that they provided scammers with their personal identifying information”
“Your personal and financial information is like the keys to your identity and your money. Once a scammer has your data, they will either sell it on the black market or use it to impersonate you.
“Armed with your details, scammers can do things like get a loan or commit fraud in your name, access your bank account and shop using your credit card, lodge tax returns, or steal your superannuation.”
“If you receive an SMS, call, or email and aren’t sure if it’s genuine, it’s OK to not respond. Instead, you can phone the ATO’s dedicated scam line 1800 008 540 to check if it is legitimate. You can also report a scam online at https://www.ato.gov.au/reportascam”
Whilst the ATO does send SMS and email messages, there are some ways to ascertain whether the message you receive is actually from the ATO. The ATO will never:
- send an SMS or email requesting you click on a hyperlink to log on to government services
- ask you to provide any personal identifying information in order to receive a refund
- use aggressive or rude behaviour, or threaten you with immediate arrest, jail or deportation
- project their number onto your caller ID – so people can be sure that if there’s a number on their caller ID, it’s not the ATO calling
- request payment of a debt via cardless cash, iTunes or Google Play cards, pre-paid Visa cards, cryptocurrency, or direct credit to a personal bank account.
“If you or someone you know has fallen victim to a tax related scam, the best thing to do is call the ATO as soon as you can on 1800 008 540”, Ms Foat said.
If you do have any concerns about correspondence form the ATO, please give South East Accounting a call on (03) 8768 8788 and we can look into it further for you.
Article Written by Paul Wineberg
Paul is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, a Certified Management Accountant
Paul is a Director of South East Accounting.