Tax scam warning

The ATO has warned taxpayers and businesses to be extra vigilant to guard against scammers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, pointing out that scammers often work to steal your money and identity while you’re most vulnerable.

“Life’s busier than ever for small business owners. Scammers hope you’re too busy to check what they’re saying so you’ll hand over your personal or financial information,” a statement from the ATO read.

They have provided the following tips to help businesses and consumers stay safe during these times. The following tactics are often used by scammers to take advantage of people both online and over the phone:

  • Ask you to pay a fee in order to receive a refund
  • Request payment via iTunes, Google Play cards, cryptocurrency, offshore wire transfer or cardless cash transfer
  • Send an email or SMS with a hyperlink to government online services
  • Request personal identifying information via return email unless you’ve agreed to engage in this way

Remember, the ATO will never threaten you with arrest or insist you stay on the line until you make payment.

If you’re ever unsure about an ATO communication, do not reply. Phone the ATO scam hotline on 1800 008 540, visit ato.gov.au/scams or speak to us.