The ACMA is warning consumers to be wary of tax phone scams attempting to obtain personal or financial details.
There has been a spike in consumer reports to the ACMA as scammers seek to take advantage of Australians who are submitting tax returns or awaiting the outcome of an assessment.
Many tax scams occur over the phone. Consumers will receive a scam call, commonly in the form of a ‘robo-call’ with a recorded message advising them to call about a fake outstanding tax debt or tax-related arrest warrant.
Scammers will pretend to be calling from the Australian Tax Office, Federal Police or other government departments to scare people into believing the call is legitimate. Some of these calls can be aggressive.
The ATO will never threaten you with arrest, demand immediate payment of a tax debt or fine, or tell you they will cancel or suspend your Tax File Number.
Consumers may also be targeted via email or SMS by scammers impersonating the ATO or other government departments advising that they are eligible to receive a tax refund.
These messages will commonly include links to click on to provide personal and/or financial information to receive fake refunds. The scammers then use the info to carry out financial crime or identify theft.
People should only ever access government online services via a verified web address and/or an independent search, never via an unverified hyperlink in an email or SMS.
If someone contacts you about your tax, do not:
- give out any personal information over the phone,
- click on any links contained in messages, or
- call any numbers provided.
If you are unsure whether a call or message is genuine, you can contact the ATO to check on 1800 008 540.
If you think you have been the target of a tax scam, you can report it to the ATO or Scamwatch.
The ACMA has developed a range of information to assist consumers identify and protect themselves from scams.
To learn more about the ACMA’s role combating scams, visit our website.