ATO warning about tax scams: SSO Alert Priority High
8 July 2014
With tax season beginning, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is warning Australians to be wary of scams.
In particular, the ATO is warning about phone scams where a scammer attempts to coax and intimidate you into paying a fake tax debt or disclosing your personal details.
Scammers impersonating representatives from the ATO or other authorities can be extremely pushy, threatening you with arrest or penalties if you do not comply.
In some cases, the scammers may have already obtained (stolen) some personal or financial information about you, enabling them to appear extremely convincing. They may even quote your tax file number, address or other identity details.
The ABC recently published an article highlighting how these personal details are used by scammers to pressure and threaten their victims.
The ATO also confirms an increase in the number of phishing scams leading up to tax time, significantly more than the same time last year.
If you receive an email purporting to be from the ATO asking you to click a link to ‘update your personal details’ or ‘confirm your account information’ or any similar request which involves you responding with personal or financial information, do not click on anything. This is a phishing scam and you should delete the message immediately.
The ATO provides a clear course of action so you can be sure about who you are talking to:
‘If people receive a call from the ATO and are concerned about providing their personal information over the phone, they should ask for the caller’s name and phone them back through the ATO’s switchboard on 13 28 69. If people think they may have fallen victim to a phone scam, contact the ATO on 1800 060 062 (8.00am–6.00pm, Monday to Friday).’
The ATO has also published a video to help explain how to protect your personal information.
As with any scam or online threat, it’s important that your software and systems are up to date, and that you have automatic updates enabled.
You should be using up to date security software from a reputable vendor.
Stay Smart Online advice about setting and using security software.
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