Be aware of scams claiming to be from the ATO
Have you received a suspicious email, letter or call, claiming to be from the ATO?
Scammers use a variety of methods to defraud innocent members of the public.
Why do scammers scam?
Typically scams aim to either get you to;
- pay money or
- on-sell your personal information for profit.
When your personal information has been obtained, scammers can and will use your details to commit identity fraud and other crimes such as:
- accessing bank accounts
- applying for loans in your name
- submitting false tax returns or BAS statements
- claiming government benefits
- accessing client or employee records
- gaining access to your superannuation
What type of scams do I need to look out for?
The range and sophistication of methods include;
- phone calls that include a legitimate-sounding recorded ‘training and monitoring’ message at the start of the call;
- phone calls from people posing as ‘tax officers’ that provide fraudulent ATO call-back details;
- emails about ‘the recipient’s tax refund, special deals and donations that are made to appear to have come from the ATO and use ‘ATO or government’ in the email address; and
- emails containing a dangerous virus, which when opened or downloaded crash the recipient’s computer.
- messages via text often contain links to fake websites or login pages or ask you to call a fake phone number. The ATO may send you a SMS message but will never ask for personal information or details.
- scams on social media that involve fake people, posing as friends to misled. The ATO is on social media but will never use this medium to ask for personal details or your tax file number.
What to do if I think I have been scammed?
If you’ve received a suspicious email, text message, social media message or telephone call you can report it to ReportEmailFraud@ato.gov.au If you have doubts about an interaction with someone saying they are from the ATO, call 1800 008 540 during business hours.
Anyone can be the victim of a scam.
If something seems suspicious, too good to be true, asks you for personal details or cannot be verified by contacting an official source, it is likely a scam and you should report it.
For information about recent scams involving the ATO click here.
This CVW Accounting blog was first published in February 2012 and has since been reviewed and updated – March 2019 and October 2023.