ATO scams are on the rise with more expected as we head into tax season. The Australian Taxation Office received 105,469 scams reports last year with 95% being the ‘Fake Tax Debt’ telephone scam.
6,435 individuals were victims of the scam, resulting in approximately $2.7 million being paid to scammers.
A spokesperson for the ATO has come out saying that scammers using the ATO as a front is showing no signs of slowing down.
“Internationally, revenue collection agencies remain a target for scammers and it is a global cross-jurisdiction industry, making investigation and prosecution problematic.”
“Unless the scam activity results in taxation fraud, it does not fall within the legal reach of the ATO. However, we continually work with law enforcement agencies, such as state and territory police agencies Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission and Australian Federal Police, to combat cybercrime and scam activity.”
The ATO has listed some key differences between a legitimate call from them and a call from a scammer.
“For example, we would never threaten you with immediate arrest; we will not use abusive language and approved payment methods can be viewed on our website,” they said.
“If you doubt the validity of a call, hang up and contact the ATO.”
They also recommend being wary of any suspicious emails claiming to be from the ATO, with more fake emails using sophisticated methods to trick people.
Remember to always stay vigilant about what links you click and what information you provide. It’s also important to have a working Disaster Recovery Plan in place in case everything goes belly up.