01.ATO and ACCC warn consumers not to fall for refund offers
The ATO and the ACCC are warning consumers not to fall for the latest outbreak of phone and email scammers who pose as government officials during tax filing time.
Since the beginning of the year, $300,000 has been lost to crooks posing as bureaucrats.
There has also been an increase in reported email phishing scams - 11,344 since 1 March 2014 as compared to 9368 during the same period last year.
"These fraudsters contact you out of the blue, claiming you have overpaid your tax and are now entitled to a refund. To obtain the refund, they ask you to first pay an administration or transfer fee. They may also ask for your financial details so they can transfer your refund to you," ACCC acting chair Delia Rickard said.
"If you hand over money to these scammers, chances are you won’t see it again. If you incidentally give your personal details to a scammer, your bank accounts and identity could be at risk of fraud."
How do you know it’s a scam? Simple. Government agencies occasionally send emails and SMS messages, but they never contact people and ask for money up front in return for a refund.
How to avoid getting scammed
- If you receive an email or phone call out of the blue that’s supposedly from an ATO official who claims you are entitled to a refund or asks you to confirm, update or disclose confidential details like your tax file number, hit delete or hang up.
- Never share personal information, such as your tax file number, MyGov or bank account details on social media.
- If you receive a call that’s apparently from the ATO and are concerned about providing your personal information over the phone, ask for the caller’s name and phone them back through the ATO switchboard on 13 28 69.
Forward suspected scam attempts to ReportEmailFraud@ato.gov.au or call the ATO during business hours on 1800 060 062.
You can also report scams to the ACCC via the SCAMwatch or by calling 1300 795 995.