Be cautious about emails, faxes, SMS and phone calls claiming to be from the Australian Taxation Office. Read these indicators of scams so you can stay safe.
You should be cautious of emails, faxes, SMS and phone calls claiming to be from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).
These could be scams to trick you into providing either money or personal information.
The ATO will never:
- ask you to pay money to receive a refund or payment from the ATO or Centrelink
- you to pay a debt via prepaid credit cards, iTunes gift cards, or directly into a personal bank account, or
- ask you to provide personal information, like your TFN or credit card number, via email or SMS
Once they have your information, scammers may use it to:
- access your bank accounts
- take out loans in your name
- steal your identity
- lodge false tax returns, or
- claim Centrelink or other benefits.
Eileen, 65, was contacted by scammers pretending to be from the ATO. They told Eileen that she had committed tax fraud, and therefore, a federal crime.
Eileen was transferred to a ‘senior operator’ who confirmed that if she paid $4,997 immediately, the charges would be dropped. She was also told that the quickest way to settle the debt was to buy iTunes gift cards and provide the card numbers over the phone.
The scammers also demanded that Eileen fax copies of her identity documents to ‘confirm who she was’. Eileen bought $5,000 in iTunes cards and faxed her documents to the scammers.
Eileen won’t be able to recover the dollar value of the gift cards and her personal information could be used, or even sold, by criminals.
Key indicators of this and other scams include:
- threats of imprisonment, deportation, or to take your financial situation public
- using an aggressive tone
- asking you to pay via pre-paid gift cards or directly into a personal bank account, or
- telling you not to contact anybody about your debt.
If you think you’ve been scammed phone the ATO on 1800 008 540, or read the ATOs protecting your information. You should do this as soon as possible.
You should also contact your bank or financial institution if you think a scammer has your credit card details