Tax time is the season for scammers, and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is warning taxpayers to be careful and vigilant.
You may be contacted by phone, SMS or email by scammers who pretend to be from the ATO. The common scams are to notify you of a tax refund, request that you update your personal details, or accuse you of having a tax debt.
You may be asked to:
Click on a link to submit a form
Pay a small fee to receive your refund
Provide your banking and credit card details
Buy a number of iTunes cards or gift cards
Act quickly or you will be in great trouble, maybe leading to your arrest
The ATO assures taxpayers that it never uses any of these methods, including threats, to handle any taxation matters. It will never contact you by SMS, does not charge any fees to provide legitimate refunds, and does not accept gift cards as payment.
The ATO recommends:
Don't reply to a phone call or SMS, but phone the ATO on 1800 008 540 to check your situation.
Read emails carefully. At a quick glance, the email might look convincing. However, a close look often reveals many spelling errors, which are rare or nonexistent in official emails.
If a hyperlink is provided, don't click on it. Hover the cursor, and you may see it does not lead to an ato.gov.au address.
If you are in doubt, phone the ATO on 1800 008 540, 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday, or visit ato.gov.au/scams.