Happy New Financial Year! What a good time to discuss Government Impersonation Scams specifically, Scammers claiming to be with the Australian Taxation Office.
Scammers will often use the names well-known services or Government departments to their advantage. When people hear the name or see the logo of a recognisable service or department, the familiarity can make it easier to trust the person that called or sent the correspondence.
A common example of this telephone phishing scam:
You receive a call claiming that you have a debt with the ATO. The person telling you this information is forceful and intimidating. They tell you that if you don’t make payment, you a warrant will be issued in your name or that you will receive a significant fine. They ask for payment in gift cards, cryptocurrency or transfer. They may become more verbally aggressive and refuse to let you end the call.
According to the Australian Taxation Office:
“Phone calls from the ATO do not project a number on caller ID and we will never send unsolicited pre-recorded messages to your phone”
“We will never threaten you with immediate arrest or demand payment through unusual means”.
What to do if you receive a scam call or email claiming to be with the ATO?
- Call the ATO on 1800 008 540 to see if it is genuine
- Forward the email or send screenshots of the email to: ReportEmailFraud@ato.gov.au
- Report it to the ATO at https://www.ato.gov.au/reportascam/#reportscam
- Call the Seniors Enquiry Line to discuss whether any other steps need to be made
Further information can be obtained by contacting Seniors Enquiry Line on 1300 135 500 between 9am-5pm Monday to Friday.