In the last 12 months, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has identified and taken action against 595 websites impersonating our online services. These fake sites are designed to steal passwords, personal information and identity documents, such as passports and driver licences.
Assistant Commissioner Tim Loh explains “Right now, we’re seeing a lot of SMS and email scams leading to fake myGov sign-in pages – we’ve had more than 360 of these scams reported since April 2022. However, we see many different types of tax and super scams happening year-round, not just in the lead up to tax time.”
Scammers are always looking for new ways to convince unsuspecting taxpayers into divulging personal information, such as bank details, usernames and passwords.
“This year, the ATO has taken out the guess work and busted some scam myths to help people stay protected” said Mr Loh.
Myth #1: Only older people fall for scams
In the last three years, younger Australians have fallen victim to the most tax scams. In 2021, people aged 25 to 34 reported the most amount of money lost to tax scams, closely followed by those aged 18 to 24. In contrast, those aged 55 and above were among those who reported the least financial losses to us.
“We want Gen Z and Millennials to know they need to watch out too, as they are just as susceptible to falling for scams, especially those that involve fake tax debts or threats about alleged fraud,” Mr Loh said.
“If you get a phone call saying it’s from the ATO and it doesn’t sound right, hang up. Check in with someone you trust, like a friend or family member. Even better go to the ATO’s website where we have a listing of all the current ATO scams or call us on our dedicated scam hotline 1800 008 540.”
Myth #2: Scams are easy to spot. You’d be a fool to fall for one!
“Email and SMS scams are not always full of typos, bad grammar, and promises of riches from foreign royalty. We are seeing many more sophisticated scam messages using official language and fraudulent websites that mimic online services,” Mr Loh said.
“We’ve seen some very convincing email and SMS scams that would trick even the most cautious people” said Mr Loh.