Even outside of tax time, it’s important to be aware of potential scams impersonating the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).
Traditionally, reports of this type of fraudulent activity are significantly higher around tax time. However these scams can occur all year round, so it’s best to always stay vigilant.
It’s important to note these scams often happen over the phone, with victims receiving robotic voice messages or calls from aggressive scammers claiming to be from the ATO or the police.
These scams are always evolving so it is important you know the warning signs and what to do if you think you may have fallen victim to an ATO impersonation scam.
- You receive a call or voice message out of the blue from someone claiming to be from the ATO or another government body, debt collection agency or trusted company.
- You are threatened with arrest or jail time if you do not pay the outstanding tax debt immediately.
- You are instructed to pay using gift cards, cryptocurrency or prepaid credit cards.
- You receive a text message or email from someone claiming to be from the ATO that might:
Ask you to call a number provided to pay an outstanding tax debt
Give you a link to update personal details through myGov or connect your cryptocurrency wallet to your tax return.
- You are asked for personal information such as your driver’s licence or passport details, date of birth or bank information.
How to protect yourself
- Never provide personal information including ID documents, card details or bank account details to a person you do not know.
- If you receive an unsolicited phone call from someone claiming to be from the ATO or another well-known organisation, hang up and call the company on a number you can trust (such as from the White Pages or a recent bill). Don’t use any contact details provided by the caller.
- Do not respond to unsolicited text messages or emails.
- Never click on links in texts or emails – the ATO will never send you a link to log in to their online services.
- Never make any tax debt payments using gift cards, cryptocurrency or prepaid credit cards.
- Do not feel pressured into making a payment – the ATO will never ask you to make an immediate payment.
Have you been scammed?
If you think you have provided details to a scammer:
- Contact your financial institution immediately.
- Report the matter to the ACCC at scamwatch.gov.au/report-a-scam
- Advise the relevant business or government agency.
If the scammer is impersonating the ATO you can call 1800 008 540 to check.
If you have fallen victim, let your family, friends and neighbours know about the scam to help protect other potential victims.