ATO assistant commissioner Karen Foat said the agency has been following the development of a new scam that sends SMS messages under the guise of a phone number that appears to be sent from the tax office.
The tactic, known as “spoofing”, is a common technique used by scammers in an attempt to make their interactions with taxpayers appear legitimate.
The new scam is a carryover from reports in 2018 where scammers “spoofed” phone calls in a bid to trick taxpayers.
“We are seeing the emergence of a new scam, where scammers are using an ATO number to send fraudulent SMS messages to taxpayers asking them to click on a link and hand over their personal details in order to obtain a refund,” said Ms Foat.
“This scam is not just targeting your money, but is after your personal information in an attempt to steal your identity.
“Taxpayers should be wary of any phone call, text message, email or letter about a tax refund or debt, especially if you weren’t expecting it.”
Ms Foat said that while the ATO regularly contacts taxpayers via phone calls, emails, and SMS, there were some key tell-tale signs that differentiated them from scammers.
For example, the ATO would never send taxpayers an email or SMS asking them to click on a link to provide login, personal or financial information, or to download a file or open an attachment.
Further, the tax office will not use aggressive or rude behaviour, or threaten you with arrest, jail or deportation, nor request payment of a debt via iTunes or Google Play cards, pre-paid Visa cards, cryptocurrency or direct credit to a personal bank account.
It will also not request a fee in order to release a refund owed to a taxpayer.
If you receive a scam call, you can hang up and call your tax agent independently.
Source: Article by Jotham Lian – www.accountantsdaily.com.au