Rob Neely from sellsecurely.com is urging hard-working Australians to remain alert for scams impersonating the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) as the end of the financial year approaches. As we head towards June 30 and the end of yet another financial year, it’s time for the annual reminder – avoid getting scammed. The ATO has received almost 20,000 reports of tax scams in 2022-23. That’s an average of approximately 360 reports per month. Scams impersonating the ATO are expected to spike in the weeks before and after June 30. Scammers will be increasing their activities – perhaps even more so given the tightening fiscal position for many people of late. Mr Neely said it is vital Australians know how-to see-through tax scams.
So, with that in mind, here are some scams to be aware of:
Scammers may send emails, text messages or call you directly claiming to be from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and offering a tax refund. These emails, text messages and calls are often poorly written, may contain grammatical errors or from someone overseas. If you receive an email or text message from someone claiming to be from the ATO, do not click on any links or provide any personal information.
Scammers may contact you pretending to be an employee of the Government with purpose of ‘fixing’ your myGov account because it has been placed ‘on hold’. They will direct you to a scam website to obtain your username and password, change your personal details (like your bank account) on the real myGov site and submit fraudulent tax returns or attempt to steal superannuation.
Scammers often set up fake websites or social media accounts masquerading as legitimate charities asking for donations to help people in need. However, the money you donate goes to the scammers instead of the charity. In addition, they often collect significant personal identity information and your credit card details making you a target for future scams or near-term credit card fraud.
You can protect yourself from these scams by being aware of them and taking steps to avoid them.
Here are a few tips:
Current cost of living pressures mean tax returns will be front of mind for many Australians hoping for a refund, and no one ever wants to lose their hard-earned money to criminals. That’s why being alert to the issue is so important.
These scams often involve criminals claiming you need to pay a processing fee or provide your personal details to have your tax refund released.
“Scammers may also try to trick people into thinking they owe a tax debt and must pay to avoid being arrested.”
Text and email are the most common contact methods scammers use when imitating the ATO.
The number of phone calls impersonating the ATO in June last year was double the monthly average
These phone calls can often be quite aggressive and threatening, but it’s important to remember the ATO will never threaten anyone with immediate arrest.
That’s why the best defence against tax scams is Australians who are curious and educated.
Never feel pressured into making a payment and contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve been scammed.