Australia Tax: Warning about tax scams

Watch out for scammers in the lead-up to tax time, an accountancy firm has warned.

In light of the Australian Taxation Office’s caution this week to be wary of false phone calls, letters, text messages, emails and more, Port Macquarie Hastings Tax and Accounting director Mike Nalder said clients often called the firm to ask what to do about questionable means of communication that are likely to be scams.

“A number of emails have been doing the rounds for a while, with attachments that give your computer viruses if you open them and have data-mining technology,” he said.

“Phone calls or emails from people claiming to be from the ATO, offering to give you money should be ignored because the ATO never liaises with people via those means, particularly the internet.”

Mr Nalder added letters often contained taxation terms not used in Australia, which was a clear indication that they were not legitimate.

“The public would not necessarily be aware these words are foreign, but to us, such letters look silly because they use words we know the ATO would not,” he said.

The firm included an article discussing tax scams in its latest newsletter sent to clients.

Tax Commissioner Michael D’Ascenzo said one telephone scam circulating was from a person claiming to be from the ATO or Taxation Department, offering a $7000 payout for a $200 fee.

“These scammers try to appear more legitimate by providing you with a case number and a telephone number to call back on,” Mr D’Ascenzo said.

“The ATO will never ask you to pay money to receive your refund.”

The ATO website has information about all the latest scams at www.ato.gov.au/onlinesecurity.

These scams are then investigated by the ATO and other government agencies.

If you think you have been the victim of a scam, contact the ATO client contact centre immediately on 13 28 61.

You can also report suspected email scams to the ATO by forwarding the email to ReportEmailFraud@ato.gov.au

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