More scammers than ever are circling this tax time

Scammers impersonating the Australian Taxation Office are common at this time of year.

Scammers impersonating the Australian Taxation Office are common at this time of year. Photo: Getty

As tax time draws closer, so do the scammers.

The federal government is warning Australians that there are more scammers this year than in the past.

In 2021-22 the Australian Taxation Office received more than 20,000 scam reports from taxpayers, and already in the 2022-23 financial year it has received 19,843 reports, Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Financial Services, Stephen Jones said.

Impersonation scams are mostly commonly seen at tax time.

Scammers will impersonate the ATO and contact individuals via a link to a fake myGov login page. 

Common tricks

The common tricks of tax scammers include:

  • Posing as the ATO on social media and offering to help you with your tax and super questions. Unfortunately, they’re only looking to help themselves to your personal information
  • Luring unsuspecting people with the offer of a “refund”. The only problem is that they’re fake. They usually impersonate the ATO to get your attention and then alert you to a ‘refund’ that’s waiting for you
  • Trying to keep you engaged in a conversation for as long as possible to collect as much personal information from you as they can
  • Using all types of methods to contact you, including phone calls, a private message on social media, an email or text.

Ways to protect yourself

The top ways to protect yourself against scammers this tax time is to:

  • Remember that the ATO will never send you a link to log in to its online services or ask you to send personal information via social media, email or SMS
  • Delete the suspicious correspondence from your account or block the account on social media
  • Do not respond if any contact seems suspicious; instead, call 1800 008 540 to check if it was the ATO speaking with you. 

The ATO has a team dedicated to monitoring scams and assisting people who have fallen victim to scammers.

It urges you to report any suspicious contact who claims to be from the ATO.

Go to [email protected] and Scamwatch.  

Topics: ATO, Tax
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