We live in a very connected world and unfortunately, not everyone in this wonderful world are nice people. They take advantage of individuals vulnerabilities and of our hectic schedules. This is the reason why the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) scams are so effective. But you can do something. The main thing is to be aware that this can happen to anyone and for you to know how to be alert and identify an ATO scam.
Cold calling scam
One of the main scams is individuals cold calling you and claiming they are calling from the ATO claiming you have an outstanding tax debt and you need to pay it immediately. This is a scam. The ATO does not call you demanding payment or risk arrest. If you receive one of these calls you need to hang up and you can call the ATO yourself on 1800 008 540.
Never call back on a number the caller provides you. It is a fake number.
Call the ATO on 1800 008 540 and they can clarify that it was not them. It is also important to stay up to date on your tax affairs.
Text message scam
Scammers are also sending a text message/SMS to individuals claiming they have a tax refund. The ask the receiver of the message to click a link in the text they have sent you. This is also a scam as it sends you to the scammer’s website and a “Tax Refund” form for you to complete to steal all of your personal information.
The ATO provides an up to date on their website outlining all the current and past scams for more information visit the ATO Scam Alert page here.
Therefore and most importantly if you are unsure of the authenticity of a call, offer no personal details, hang up and contact the ATO yourself on 1800 008 540.