Tax-time warning about scams
- Warning about scam calls and emails pretending to be from government agencies
- Hang up on calls threatening arrest and demanding payment via unusual methods
- Never share myGov password and PIN with anyone
Consumer Protection is warning WA consumers to be alert to tax scams, which are most prevalent around the end of the financial year.
So far this financial year (1 July 2021 to 20 June 2022), nine victims have reported losing a total of $47,100 with 60 reports received. In 2021, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) received more than 50,000 reports of tax scams, with more than $800,000 in losses.
Most victims reporting to WA ScamNet at Consumer Protection were targeted by phone calls and voicemail messages, with scammers pretending to be from a government agency threatening arrest unless a bogus tax debt was paid. A variety of payment methods were requested, including bank transfer, cash bank deposits, gift cards, prepaid credit cards or cryptocurrencies.
Fake emails claiming to be from myGov spruiking ‘outstanding refunds’ were another way taxpayers were targeted.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection Gary Newcombe said the phishing emails were an attempt by scammers to steal banking and personal information.
“Recipients are urged to click on a link to apply for the money to be returned to them. In reality, they will likely be taken to a cloned myGov website operated by the scammers that asks them to input their login and financial details,” Mr Newcombe said.
“Our data shows that tax scam attempts usually peak between July and December when consumers are submitting their tax returns, so some people might not think it’s unusual to be contacted about refunds and debts at this time.
“The best way to protect yourself if you receive one of these emails is to delete it – we never recommend opening or clicking on links in emails or messages you aren’t expecting to receive.
“Always check the sender’s email address is legitimate and never share your myGov sign-in details with anybody.”
Advice to avoid falling victim:
- Don’t open or click on links in suspicious or unsolicited emails (spam) or text messages – delete them
- Be aware that myGov emails should always be from ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’
- Never share your myGov sign-in details, including password and PIN, with anyone
- Remember that myGov will never send you a text, email or attachment with hyperlinks or web addresses.
- Confirm the caller’s name, title and why they are calling.
- Call the ATO on 1800 008 540 to verify the ATO contact or log in to your myGov account to check your tax affairs.
- Never send money or give financial/personal details to someone you don’t know or trust.
- If you have provided your financial information, contact your financial provider immediately.
- The ATO will never leave pre-recorded messages.
- Government agencies will never threaten immediate arrest nor demand payment through unusual means like gift cards or cryptocurrency.
For further information or to report a scam, go to the WA ScamNet website www.scamnet.wa.gov.au or call 1300 30 40 54.
Media Contact: Frankie Pennington, (08) 6552 9410 / 0423 846 397 /email@example.com
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