Don't get scammed!

Last year, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) reported more than 37,000 scam attempts during tax time*. Hundreds unwittingly handed over their hard-earned money, while thousands more handed over their personal details. 

People expect to be contacted by the ATO at tax time, which makes it a peak opportunity for scammers to impersonate government agencies and other financial institutions. 

Don’t let this happen to you!

Maintain a high level of scepticism and avoid these 4 Tax-Time Scammers with these timely reminders.

1. The Money-tree thief

Remember if it’s too good to be true, it probably is

If you receive an email or a text claiming you've received a tax refund and you need to click a link or provide personal details to find out more, don't.  The ATO will never ask you to update or provide personal information via text, email or social media. They also won’t ask you to download or install anything. 

2. The Angry Caller 

Don't bend to the bully

Some scammers will use aggression or intimidation to steal your money or your personal details. They'll accuse you of owing the ATO money and threatening you with jail if you don't pay it immediately. Remember, the ATO will never try to 'bully' personal information like your Tax File Number or your bank details out of you over the phone.

3.The Unverified Villian

When in doubt, call or verify first

Don’t trust anyone who calls you out of the blue, claiming to be from the ATO. Never hand over any personal information and verify their identity by calling the ATO yourself. 

You might also receive an email, text or voicemail asking you to call back to provide information. If you do get a message like this, look up the number online and check that it's legitimate before you do anything. You can call the ATO on 1800 008 540 or forward any emails you are unsure of to: ReportEmailFraud@ato.gov.au

4. The Fraud Burglar

Stay awake

Keep your eyes open and be alert to anything unusual. Don’t click on any links or attachments in emails. Be cautious whenever you're asked for your personal details. If they fall into the wrong hands, you could become a victim of identity theft or fraud.

Watch out for these tell-tale signs 

Online scams (email of social media)

  • Often have poor spelling and grammar
  • May ask you to click on a link or download something 
  • May request your personal details
  • Look official, but contain a fake logo, url or phone number
  • May not address you by name
  • May have poor resolution (low quality images or blurry text)

Phone scams or text messages

  • May be out of the blue
  • Will demand you do something immediately (e.g. pay money or confirm personal details)
  • Might ring once and leave a voicemail asking you to call back
  • Might be aggressive and manipulative
  • Request your personal details before they can give you a tax refund
  • Offer to wait on the phone while you transfer money

Protect yourself

Your personal details are worth keeping safe. If you think that your personal information has been stolen, contact iDcare - a free national identity and cyber support service. Also, subscribe to scamwatch.gov.au to keep up-to-date with the latest scams.

*‘Watch out, scams about!’, Australian Taxation Office, https://www.ato.gov.au/Media-centre/Media-releases/Watch-out,-scams-about!/, viewed 27 July 2018.