Be careful, you can be a victim of a tax scam. Either a call, SMS text or email, scammers are posing as ATO workers to finally take your money. According to the ATO, scammers have stolen over $800,000 around Australia the last november.

So do not become a new victim and take a look at the methods that scammers are using.

How to identify a tax scam call, SMS text or email?

By the phone:

  • Scammers usually will call you as if they were workers from the ATO, telling you that you need  to pay a tax debt (which you know nothing about).
  • They can use an aggressive attitude and try to threaten you saying that if you don’t pay that debt you will be arrested and sent to jail.
  • Scammers usually ask for personal information and bank details.
  • They will try to make you call to another number outside normal business hours.

The scammers often have sufficient personal information to be very convincing.

By email:

  • Scammers will link to a fake ATO website asking for personal details or credit card details.
  • You can receive an email offering you a tax refund or asking for personal details.  
  • Scammers state in the email the quantity of money you have to pay for a tax debt and a link to pay it.

By SMS text:

  • Scammers can request you personal security information such as your TFN or bank details.

What to do if you think it is a tax scam?

Phone call:

In case you receive a phone call:

  • Ask the caller their full name and extension number, team leader’s full name and extension number.
  • Do not give any personal information or bank details
  • Hang up

Email or SMS text:

  • If you receive an email or SMS, do not open any attachments or hyperlinks.  
  • Do not send an email back or a text back with any personal information or bank details.

Reporting a tax scam call, email or SMS text

To report a tax scam call, email, SMS or to verify the info given by the caller, contact the ATO on 1800 008 540.  Find them between 8.00am–6.00pm, Monday to Friday.

In addition, to report an scam email, you can forward the entire email to [email protected] without changing or adding any additional information. The ATO will investigate all submissions made to this mailbox.

If you have provided your tax file number (TFN) to someone who should not have it, or you suspect someone is misusing your TFN, phone the ATO’s Client Identity Support Centre on 1800 467 033.

Final considerations

In conclusion, you must know that the ATO will never:

  • Make a cold-call
  • Threaten you with immediate arrest
  • Ask you to pay money to receive a refund or payment
  • Request you to pay a debt via Itunes cards or vouchers, pre-paid credit card or store gift cards
  • Ask you to provide personal information, such as your tax file number (TFN) or credit card number, via email or SMS texts
  • Direct you to download files from the internet, or open attachments in unsolicited emails

More information

Be careful because scammers are constantly changing the way they operate. In order to stay on top of the latest scams you can visit the ATO website https://www.ato.gov.au/  or SCAMwatch.gov.au.