During the end of financial year police often see an increase in scams involving the Australian Tax Office (ATO) which include:
- Phishing emails
- SMS requests to update your myGov details
- Asking you to click on a link to receive a refund
- Pre-recorded messages claiming you have an unpaid tax debt
- Threats of arrest if you don’t make immediate payment.
The ATO does use social media however they will never use these channels to request personal or financial information. Similarly, they will never send an unsolicited pre-recorded phone message (robo-call) or ask you to log on to their online services via a hyperlink in an email or SMS.
Telltale signs of a scam can include demands for immediate payment or personal information, aggressive behaviour and the use of threats such as arrest. Know that police and the ATO will never call and threaten you with arrest or deportation.
If you receive a call, email or SMS you are unsure about, the best thing to do is to hang up or not respond. Don’t click on any links or use contact details in the received message. Instead, verify the information through independent means such as an online search.
The ATO’s website ato.gov.au has information about all the latest scam alerts including screen shots with how to spot a scam, how to report a scam and what to do if you have been scammed. You can also call them on their dedicated scam line 1800 008 540.
If you have received such a call and made a payment to a scammer, contact your financial institution immediately and report the matter to the Australian Cyber Security Centre – ReportCyber.