It's the time of the year in Australia again - Tax Time!
We all start to gather our Tax Return information and PAYG Summaries so we can lodge our tax returns.
It's also the time Australian Taxation Office (ATO) impersonation scams are prevalent and at this busy time of the year you could easily be tricked into downloading, clicking-on or sending your personal and business information to someone who may use it to defraud you.
Be aware is the message from the ATO.
So how do you keep your personal and business information safe?
Someone claiming to be from the ATO on your phone, or via email, can set the anxiety into overdrive and often sway our normally rational detective skills. Our advice: just stop, breathe, and before giving ANY information state "I'll gather all my information and call the ATO when I've got it all in front of me."
A true ATO representative would rarely call unsolicited without you receiving mail correspondence about a request for information or fine. They will be more than happy for you to call back later. Always.
If you're in doubt about the person calling or contacting you please do the following:
Do not click on any links, open attachments or respond to an email or social media notice
Forward the entire email to: ReportEmailFraud@ato.gov.au
Delete the record of the email from your account, including the 'Sent' box
If you've just received a call record the number it came from if possible and then phone the ATO fraud line on 1800 008 540 8am-6pm Mon-Fri
Check status of scams here: ato.gov.au/scams
You can also subscribe to the ATO updates here https://www.ato.gov.au/Subscription.aspx
Report scams to ACCC ScamWatch and/or the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN)
The ATO will never send a text message that asks for the following:
personal information including your TFN or credit card details; and/or
for you to pay a fee for a tax refund.
Remember, if in doubt: it's ALWAYS better to contact the ATO on via online services through the ATO Website or call them directly on 13 28 65 for individuals or 13 72 26 for businesses.
If this message comes just-a-little-too-late and you suspect you've already fallen victim and made a payment to a scammer: make an official report to your local police and contact your banking institution.