Tax scams and how to avoid them

At this time of year, we’ve heard many stories about various ways unscrupulous scammers are trying to steal tax refunds. The scams take many forms and new ones are constantly emerging.

The most recent of these involves scammers initiating a 3-way phone conversation between the tax payer (victim), the scammer and another scammer impersonating the taxpayers tax agent. The scammer impersonating the tax agent is used to try and provide authenticity to the scammers call.

Other recent scams involve a text message supposedly from the ATO offering a tax refund to the recipient. Once the taxpayer clicks on the link in the text message, they’ll be asked to enter their personal details. This includes TFN, credit card number and CCV number. This information is justified by the scammer to deposit the non existent tax refund in the tax payers account. In reality, the scammer is using these details to steal the taxpayer’s money from their credit card.

The older scams which include fake emails purporting to be from the ATO and fake phone calls threatening the recipient with arrest if they don’t pay tax debts are still doing the rounds.

Please be aware, the ATO will never ask for your personal information, including credit card details, TFN, by text or email.

If you do receive any form of suspicious email, text or phone call from someone holding themselves as a representative from the ATO, please let us know. We can then confirm for you whether this is a scam or not. Generally, the ATO will call us first, as your tax agent, before any contact is made directly with you.

Unfortunately, at this current time, you must always question the legitimacy of anyone requesting your personal details….regardless of where they purport to be from.

If you’ve been the victim of a scam, we recommend you contact the ATO immediately, as your personal details may be compromised. You should also contact your bank as soon as possible to ensure no illegal activity has been undertaken on your bank account/credit card.

Kim Jay