ATO Issues Scam Warning

The ATO has issued several warnings recently regarding a number of scams targeting taxpayers.

One scam identified by the ATO includes scammers intimidating people into paying a fake tax debt over the phone. The caller threatens people with arrest if they do not comply with payment of the debt. Assistant Commissioner of Taxation Thomas Ryan has urged people to be vigilant, stating the ATO would never contact taxpayers about a debt in such a threatening manner.

“We take your privacy seriously.’ Mr. Ryan said “We urge you to be alert to these types of scams and never send money or give your financial details to someone you don’t know and trust”.

Anyone who receives a phone call from the Tax Office, but is concerned about providing their personal information over the phone, should ask for the caller’s name, then telephone back through the ATO switchboard on 13 11 42.

In another statement, the ATO warns of emails, SMS or phone calls where criminals try to steal money or information from unsuspecting individuals and tax professionals. The ATO warns that these scams can be very convincing.

Common characteristics of a scam:

  • Messages are unsolicited and do not address the recipient by name
  • Ask for personal or financial information
  • Are poorly worded, contain spelling and grammatical mistakes
  • Promise the recipient money
  • Often contain an attachment or fake links requesting the recipient to complete a form. Opening these attachments or links can lead to spyware or a virus being downloaded.

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