ATO SCAM ALERT
SCAM watch is warning consumers to be aware of calls from scammers falsely claiming to be from the Australian Tax Office (ATO).
Scammers have recently been calling Australians telling them that there is a warrant out for their arrest. Scammers will ask you to call during office hours to discuss the matter further. However, the telephone number has no connection with the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, Australian Taxation Office or any other state or commonwealth department.
The scammers may spin a range of stories about why an arrest warrant has been issued, including that you have failed to pay taxes.
Scammers typically ask for money to be sent via electronic transfer as it’s nearly impossible to recover money sent this way. They may also ask for people’s financial and other personal details to access their money and use this information to commit other scams.
How these scams work
- You receive a call out of the blue from someone claiming to be from the Australian Taxation Office.
- The call may sound like it is an automated message.
- The caller or sender will claim that you have an arrest warrant for some reason.
- The scammer will ask you to telephone a number that appears to be Australian but is likely to be a VOIP number.
- The scammer will tell you that in order to resolve the matter you will need to pay a fee.
- You may also be asked to provide your bank account details or other personal information so they can confirm they have the right person.
- If you send any money via electronic transfer, you will never see it again – it’s nearly impossible to recover money sent this way. You will also never receive the promised rebate or refund.
- If you provide your bank account details or other personal information, the scammer may use it to commit identity theft or to steal your money.
- are unsolicited
- are pushy and can be intimidating, threatening arrests or penalties if payment for an unknown tax debt is not made immediately
- demand payment in full and in some instances via unconventional means such as iTunes cards, cash transfers or gift vouchers
- ask you for your personal or financial information or to confirm information they pretend they have
- are often poorly worded, containing spelling and grammatical mistakes
- may promise you a tax refund in exchange for a payment or personal information
- May contain an attachment or fake links requesting you to lodge a form – opening these attachments or links can cause you to download spyware or a virus.
- If you receive a phone call or email out of the blue from someone claiming to be from the Commonwealth Department of Public Prosecutions or Australian Taxation Office telling you about an arrest warrant, hang up.
- If you have any doubts about the identity of any caller who claims to represent a government department, contact the body directly. Don’t rely on numbers, email addresses or websites provided by the caller – find them through an independent source such as a phone book or online search.
How to report a scam
If a scammer or someone claiming to be from the ATO has contacted you and you are unsure of the legitimacy, let ATO know.
For Phone Scams you should:
- hang up immediately
- Call ATO’s dedicated scam reporting line 1800 008 540 between 8am–6pm EST, Monday to Friday.
For Email Scams you should:
- refrain from clicking on links or opening attachments
- forward the email to ReportEmailFraud@ato.gov.au
For further assistance contact Expert Tax on 0449 952 855 or send us your query via our website – www.expert-tax.com.au
Alternatively you can also email us your query at firstname.lastname@example.org, we will endeavor to reply to your query as soon as possible.
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