New Scam Targets Aussies Seeking Tax Claims
It would appear that con artists are always one step ahead of the game, and their most recent ploy is designed to specifically target those in Australia who are attempting to collect tax refunds. This scheme, also known as the “fake ATO scam,” is carried out by con artists by means of the transmission of forged emails that are made to look as though they came from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).
Taxpayers are instructed by these emails to click on a link in order to collect their refund; however, if they comply with this request, they will be directed to a website where their personal information will be stolen. If you intend to file for a tax refund this year, you should make sure that you are aware of this fraud and that you take measures to protect yourself from it. Continue reading if you want to find out more details!
Swindlers are always on the lookout for new methods to take advantage of unsuspecting victims, and their most recent con targets people in Australia who are in the process of filing tax claims. The fraudulent scheme is sending out emails that give the impression of coming from the Australian Tax Office. The emails contain a link that is supposed to connect the recipient to the appropriate forms to fill out. The links, on the other hand, will take you to phony websites that have been created by the con artists, where you will be requested to submit your personal information. Be wary of falling victim to this con if you want to file an income tax return this year.
Scammers Use New Scheme To Play The Saviours
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has issued a warning about an increase in the number of scam calls made by automated systems that impersonate the ATO.
This new group of con artists is spreading the false information that they have suspended the tax file number (TFN) of their intended victim due to the suspicion of fraudulent behavior.
Since the first of January 2021, the ATO has received 638 instances of this fraud, and 7 victims have reportedly lost a total of roughly $118,000.
“While the number of people paying these scammers is limited, the significant amounts that are being lost per person is disturbing,” said Assistant Commissioner Trent Jakubowski.
“We are noticing that rather than asking for a specified sum of money, scammers are requesting that victims send every single dollar that is currently in their bank account,”
According to Mr. Jakubowski, “What’s most wicked is that in certain circumstances, these con artists are taking money under the premise of saving it from other con artists who are trying to access their account.” This is one of the scenarios in which Mr. Jakubowski claimed this.
Beginning with an automated phone call, the most prevalent scripts have been as follows:
- Your Tax File Number (TFN) has been frozen because fraudsters have access to your TFN details. You are going to have to send all of your money to us so that we can keep it safe while we figure everything out.
- Because of the improper use of your TFN, you are required to transfer all of the money in your bank account to a holding account while you wait for the outcome of the legal proceedings.
One individual lost $36,000 just this week as a result of this new strategy, and the majority of those affected are young people between the ages of 18 and 24.
“Please take this as a friendly warning to keep your guard up whenever you are responding to an unexpected call. “These catastrophic losses indicate that anyone may be a target, even if most of the time we hear stories of older people in Australia being targeted by scammers, ” Mr. Jakubowski said.
Taxpayers are contacted by the ATO, although the agency will never:
- telephone solicitation in the form of unsolicited prerecorded messages
- behave in a hostile or impolite manner toward you, or threaten you with immediate arrest, incarceration, or deportation;
- your TFN has been suspended;
- request that the funds be transferred directly into your own bank account;
- display our number on the caller ID of your phone.
It is acceptable to hang up or not react if you receive a call, email, or SMS and are unsure who it is from. Calling the ATO’s dedicated scam line at 1800 008 540 is the better option for verifying the legitimacy of the email. You can also report a scam online by going to ato.gov.au/reportascam and following the instructions there.
Tax Scam: Impersonation Message Promises Australians New Year Returns
A new email hoax is going around that seems to be from the myGov website run by the Australian government.
Scammers have inundated users’ inboxes with messages impersonating myGov, using the new year as a pretext to assert that users are qualified to get a tax return of more than $180.
“Because of the audit, we had to make some corrections to your income tax return for the year that ended on 12-2019. The main body of the message states, “However, in order to keep you safe from having your identity stolen, we need to verify your identification before we can process the return and give a refund.”
The email assures recipients that they will receive their full refund within the next 21 calendar days. Scamwatch at the ACCC has become aware of the impersonation email and has issued a warning to residents of Australia via Twitter.
The Australian public is being warned by the Department of Human Services to be vigilant about the growing risk posed by fraudulent emails, phone calls, and text messages that falsely claim to come from various government departments and agencies.
“The department will not transmit URLs to your personal email address or by text message,” the statement read. According to the Department, “it is safe to open links that are included in myGov Inbox messages.” Despite this, the messages that you get in your myGov Inbox are encrypted, making it safe to open them.
It is recommended that Australians refrain from:
- delivering personally identifiable information (such as a Medicare number) or supplying documents (such as identity documents) over electronic mail, short message service (SMS), or social media;
- transactions involving the transfer of funds or the purchase of gift cards or vouchers
- supplying the passwords for financial accounts;
- the process of downloading files via the internet or opening attachments in emails;
- charging a price in exchange for a payment or service being provided.
Caution Is Advised In Regards To A Tax Scam As Hundreds Of Australians Are Being Targeted By Fraudsters
Swindlers have taken advantage of at least 200 people in Australia by impersonating the Australian Taxation Office in a new tax return fraud, prompting the government to issue an urgent warning about the situation.
Scamwatch, a service provided by the Australian government, sounded the warning on Wednesday to remind Australians that the ATO will never threaten anyone with arrest.
“The ATO would never threaten you with immediate arrest or send unwanted pre-recorded messages to your phone,” the website for the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) states.
Scamwatch reported that these types of cons are widespread and frequently used to intimidate vulnerable individuals, especially by making death threats.
“The con artist may phone you and put you under intense pressure to make a payment right away, threaten you with arrest, or say they will bring the police to your house if you do not comply,”
Fraudsters are also known to seek payments of overdue tax arrears while appearing to be from trusted organizations such as the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), Australia Post, or banks. This practice has been documented on multiple occasions.
If the phishing attempt is conducted over email, the message will typically contain an attachment or a link to a bogus website, instructing the recipient to download or open a file that could infect their computer with malware.
When people in Australia receive a call from what they believe to be government authorities “out of the blue,” Scamwatch encourages them to be on the lookout for warning indicators and to maintain their vigilance.
“Do not give in to the demands of an intimidating caller. Instead, take a moment to reflect and validate the veracity of their claim, as instructed by Scamwatch.
“Hang up the phone and do not reply if you receive a call from someone threatening you and requesting you to pay a fee,” the message on the recording said.
Scamwatch has received 2,494 reports from Australians, which indicates that they have already lost a total of $511,071 as of January 2021.
The vast majority of scams that threaten a person’s life or lead to an immediate arrest are carried out over the phone.
How to Recognize and Avoid an ATA Scam:
- Provide you with a message requesting you to send us your information through email or text message. The message could be sent to you by email or text message.
- Please check your email or text message for a link that will allow you to log in to the online services.
- Send a prerecorded message threatening to arrest you or demanding immediate payment of money, and say that the police are on their way to do so.
Ask for payment via bank transfers to:
- A financial institution in Australia that is not the Reserve Bank of Australia
- international bank wire transfers
- Gift certificates for iTunes or Google Play
- Transactions without the use of cards
- digital currencies similar to Bitcoin
Warning from the ACMA Regarding Tax Phone Scams
Consumers are being warned by the ACMA to be careful of potential tax-related phone scams that aim to obtain personal or financial information.
Scammers are targeting Australians who are in the process of filing tax returns or who are awaiting the results of an assessment, which has led to an increase in the number of consumer complaints received by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACMA).
The phone is the venue for a significant number of tax frauds. First, victims of the scam would get phone contact, usually in the form of an automated phone call (also known as a “robo-call”), with a prerecorded message urging them to call about a bogus overdue tax bill or arrest warrant linked to taxes.
Scammers will pose as phoning from the Australian Tax Office, the Federal Police, or any other government department in order to intimidate their victims into thinking the call is genuine. It’s possible that some of these calls will be hostile.
You will never hear the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) threaten you with arrest, demand immediate payment of a tax debt or penalties, or inform you that they will revoke or suspend your Tax File Number. All of these things are illegal.
Scammers impersonating the Australian Taxation Office or other government offices may contact consumers by email or text message, claiming that they are qualified for a tax refund and asking for their personal information.
These communications will typically contain links that recipients are instructed to click on in order to supply personal and/or financial information and get fraudulent reimbursements. Scammers will then use the information they have obtained to commit a financial crime or steal someone’s identity.
People should never use a hyperlink in an email or text message that they haven’t validated to access online government services; instead, they should always use a web URL that has been verified or do their own independent search.
If someone calls you about your tax, do not:
- disclose any sensitive information while speaking on the phone;
- follow any of the links that are provided in the messages;
- dial any of the numbers that are supplied.
Scams by Phone and Email in November 2021 Concerning Superannuation
It has come to our attention that there has been a recent uptick in the number of fraudulent superannuation investments.
Swindlers are contacting victims by phone and email, claiming to be consultants or specialists in the field of finance. They are pushing people to invest their retirement savings in a self-managed super fund (SMSF) that is said to have a great performance record.
These con artists will begin by asking for some information from you and may even invite you to perform an online comparison shopping. They are likely to be persistent and may make repeated attempts to get in touch with you.
Sometimes, in order to give the impression that they are legitimate, they will set up a false website and use the name of a legitimate business as well as an Australian Financial Service Licence (AFSL).
They will tell you that there is no need for you to engage directly with the ATO, ASIC, or any other tax or super professional in any kind.
If you give them permission to invest, they will move your retirement savings into bank accounts that they control and then vanish with the money.
Even if you do not agree to invest, if you provide them with sufficient personal information, they may use this to move your super from your existing account without your knowledge, so stealing your super funds. This occurs even if you do not agree to invest.
Before giving out any personal or financial information, you should always make sure you know who you are working with.
Be wary of anyone who contacts you with unsolicited recommendations regarding your finances:
- Verify their status as licensed professionals by looking them up in the ASIC’s professional registers.
- Carry out a search on the internet to independently verify their identification and to check whether there are any reviews or indicators of fraudulent activity associated to their website, email address, or phone number.
- If you are unsure, consult with a different tax practitioner who is registered.
In the event that you receive an SMS, email, or letter from the ATO concerning an SMSF that you did not establish, please give us a call at the number 13 10 20 as soon as possible.
November 2021 Phone Scam – Fake Tax Debt
We are putting out the word to remind folks to be on the lookout for phone scams involving phony tax debts.
Scammers who pose as employees of the ATO are making phone calls to victims and telling them they have an outstanding tax bill that needs to be paid immediately.
When we need to get in touch with you, we will do so via phone, email, and SMS. But that won’t stop us from:
- I will leave you a message on your phone that was prerecorded;
- warn you that you will be arrested right now;
- impose an unorthodox means of payment, such as the use of gift cards or payments to personal bank accounts;
- Demand that you continue to wait in line until payment has been made.
If you get an email like this, delete it as soon as possible. Please refrain from opening the attachment or clicking on any of the links.
In the event that you get a communication purporting to be from the ATO requesting any of your personal information, please call us at the following number: 1800 008 540. Send an email to [email protected] if you have reason to believe that the message contains fraudulent content.
Never divulge any of your private information to a third party until you are absolutely positive that you know who you are working with.
August 2021 Phone Scam – New Payment Methods
Scammers are reportedly making fresh demands for financial compensation using a variety of tactics.
The following are some examples of this:
- Withdrawals from ATMs that do not require a card;
- gift cards for retail establishments include JB Hi-Fi, Myer, and Woolworths;
- courier companies that are in charge of collecting the cash payments;
- Cash must be delivered in person at a public venue that has been determined in advance.
Swindlers are posing as representatives from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and other government entities, such as the Australian Federal Police, in an effort to deceive victims into making payments to them.
They may tell you that your Tax File Number (TFN) has been suspended or compromised as a result of money laundering or any other type of unlawful behaviour, or they may tell you that you have a bill to pay.
The actual Internal Revenue Service (ATO) will never need payment in any of these ways. Because of this, before making a payment on your tax obligation, you should always check the legitimate ways to settle tax debt on our website.
If you are concerned about your personal safety or have already sent money to a con artist using one of the methods described above, you should contact the authorities in your area as soon as possible and provide them with all of the relevant information.
Additionally, we cannot stress enough how important it is for you to get in touch with your financial institution as soon as possible. If a scammer gets their hands on your account information, there is a possibility that they will be able to cancel a transaction or even close your account.
Also, keep in mind that if you ever have any doubts about the authenticity of the contact from the ATO, you should hang up the phone and give us a call at 1800 008 540.
May 2021 Email Scam – Update Your myGovID details
People are being asked to update their myGov or myGovID details in an email scam that has recently been brought to our attention.
Emails are being sent out by con artists posing as members of the “myGov customer service team,” which inform recipients that they need to verify their identity by clicking on a link in the email.
Don’t click on any of the links, and don’t give any of the information that’s being asked for.
The link will take you to a fake login page for myGov that is intended to steal your personal information, including the information from your passport and driver’s license.
You can choose to get notifications from myGov through email or text message whenever there are new communications in your myGov Inbox. On the other hand, these notifications will never contain a link that directs you to your myGov account where you can sign in. Always access our online services directly through one of the following, instead:
- the application for the ATO.
Make sure that you get the myGovID app from either the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store when you download it on your device.
You can file a report with ScamWatch if you receive an SMS or email that purports to be from myGov but has a link in it or otherwise seems fishy. You can call Services Australia’s Scams and Identity Theft Helpdesk at 1800 941 126 if you have submitted your personal information or clicked on a link that leads to a fraudulent website.
February 2021 Phone Scam – Suspended TFN
The number of reports that we are getting from customers who have lost money to automated phone scams is growing.
Con artists who pose as employees of the ATO convince their victims that their tax file number (TFN) has either been:
- suspended as a result of unlawful behaviour;
- the scammer has gained access to it.
They ask the person who received the call to either pay a fine to get their TFN released or transfer all of their bank funds into a holding account to prevent any further misuse in the future.
- do not suspend TFNs;
- will never ask you to pay a fee or transfer money in order to secure your tax identification number (TFN) while legal action is proceeding.
When we call you, our phone number will not appear on your caller ID screen. In addition, we will never send prerecorded messages to your phone that has not been requested by you.
If you receive a call of this nature, hang up the phone and do not supply the information that is being demanded. However, if you are unsure whether a contact from the ATO is genuine, you can call us at the following number: 1800 008 540.