It’s that time of the year where many of us are getting ready to lodge our tax returns (if we haven’t done so already). During this time, it’s very important to keep an eye out for tax scams. Tax time could really be taxing if you give out personal details to scammers impersonating the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).
Scammers posing as the Australian Taxation Office, have had considerable success over the years. According to a recent Australian Competition and Consumer Commission report, scams targeting Australians last year cost an estimated $851 million and unfortunately this number is trending upwards.
Cybercriminals are increasing their attacks through phone calls, texts and emails as they prey on people’s fears of getting into trouble with the ATO. The attacks over the phone are becoming more direct and often threatening, they can accuse their victims of having years of unpaid taxes and are very clever at quoting official-sounding legislation.
If you are suspicious of some communication you’ve received, the best way to react is to not react at all. Ask yourself the question – “is this unusual in any way?” Scammers rely on victims acting quickly on impulse and not giving them time to really think. If you’re ever unsure whether it’s really the ATO, do not reply, call the ATO directly to check. For further information on current ATO scams visit the ATO website.