Beware of ATO Scams This Tax Time

Posted on: July 16th, 2019

With a new financial year comes new and elaborate attempts to trick Australians. Every year, many people fall victim to scams, with hundreds of thousands of dollars conned from everyday Australians who are caught off-guard during stressful tax time. You need to beware of ATO scams this tax time.

2019 ATO Scams

This end of financial year, scammers are using text messages, emails and WhatsApp in their latest attempts to scam Australians. The ATO has advised to be on the lookout for text messages or WhatsApp messages. Messages will claim that you are due a refund, asking you to click a link and provide personal information. Additionally, scammers use technology to make the message appear in their legitimate ATO message feed. The ATO advises that they will never ask you to access online services via a hyperlink.

An example of an SMS or WhatsApp message scam

There are further reports that scammers are using WhatsApp to impersonate the ATO. Scammers are sending pre-recorded voice messages demanding immediate payment and threatening arrest. In some cases, the scammers ask recipients to send photo identification via WhatsApp. However, the ATO advises that they do not have a profile on WhatsApp, and will never engage with taxpayers on this platform.

Tax scams continue to use email in attempts to trick taxpayers. Fake emails can be extremely misleading by including the ATO logo. However, in most cases they will not include your name and have poor grammar.

Example of ATO email scam
Example of ATO email scam

ATO Communication

The ATO does regularly contact taxpayers by phone, email and SMS. However, they advise that there are tell-tale signs of fake communication.

The ATO will NOT:

  • Send pre-recorded voice messages
  • Use aggressive behaviour
  • Request payment of a debt via pre-paid visa cards, direct debit to a personal bank account, cryptocurrency or any other method
  • Send you an email or SMS asking you to click on a link and provide personal information
  • Threaten you with arrest, jail or deportation

Contact the ATO directly to report any issues if you are unsure whether your interaction is genuine or to report a scam.


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