ATO phone scam alert


5th December 2018
Public alerts have been issued regarding phone scammers who impersonate ATO officials to defraud their victims of thousands of dollars.

Public alerts have been issued regarding phone scammers who impersonate ATO officials to defraud their victims of thousands of dollars.

An increasing number of reports have been submitted regarding scammers who claim their target has an outstanding tax debt and threaten arrest if the debt is not paid immediately.

 

Scam tactics

Scammers are using technology to make their requests seem more legitimate. Some tactics include:

  • Calls appearing to originate from a legitimate ATO number
  • Using the number 6216 1111 and other official looking numbers
  • Using a three-way conversation between the scammer posing as an ATO official, the victim and another scammer impersonating the victim’s tax agent

 

Spotting a scam

Keep in mind that although calls may look legitimate, the ATO will never:

  • Threaten you with arrest
  • Demand immediate payment, particularly through unusual means such as bitcoin, prepaid credit cards or gift cards
  • Refuse to allow you to speak with a trusted advisor or your regular tax agent
  • Present a phone number on caller ID
  • Use aggression and intimidation tactics

 

How to take action

The ATO encourages individuals who have suspected they have been called by a scammer to take the following action:

  • Phone the ATO to check if the call was legitimate
  • Know the status of your tax affairs
  • Check myGov or contact your registered tax agent
  • Never call a scammer back but independently locate a contact number for the organisation referenced in the call

 

There are many scams out there at the moment including email scams, for more information on ATO scams visit their website or for a list of scams go to ACCC's Scamwatch .

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