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Tax time can be a vulnerable time for many Australians. While many of us are conscious of lodging our tax returns properly and planning for changes that the new financial year can bring, scammers may try to take advantage of unsuspecting victims.


Scams come in many forms. Regardless of how they are carried out, awareness is an important part of protecting yourself.

 

What does a tax scam look like?

You may receive a phone call, text message or e-mail claiming to be from a government agency, such as the ATO, Centrelink or MyGov.
The scammer will use tactics such as claiming you have an outstanding tax debt, a suspended TFN, or a compromised account, and demand the issue be resolved.
To create a sense of urgency and panic, the scammer will often pressure you to act quickly, with threats of hefty fines or even imprisonment if you do not act immediately.
The scammer may demand you make payment via bank transfer, cryptocurrency or by purchasing gift cards. Alternatively, they might encourage you to click a link in order to provide your personal information, sometimes claiming that you need to “update your account details” or “reset your password”.

 Senior woman using her phone

Trust your gut - hang up if something doesn't feel right.

 

Protect yourself
  • Hang up. Agencies such as the ATO will typically not call you on the phone and demand immediate payment.

  • Delete messages and e-mails demanding payment, personal information, or asking you to click a link.

  • Do not respond, and do not click any links these messages may contain.

  • Do not provide any personal information.

 

Verify the claim

Is there a chance the message or phone call you received is legitimate? If you’re not sure, it’s worth finding out. Otherwise, you risk ignoring a real problem.
Never respond directly to a phone number or e-mail provided in a suspicious message – otherwise you may just be calling a potential scammer straight back. Always verify contact details independently, such as by visiting the official website of the agency or organisation to confirm their phone number.

 

What to do next?

 

Click here for more information on keeping your accounts safe.