This may be a topic that can be circulated regularly, but it can never hurt to be overly aware of these types of scams. The ATO has released several alerts regarding phone scammers who impersonate ATO officials to defraud their victims of thousands of dollars.
Most often, the scammers will use a scare tactic to try and scam their victim. An example would be that the scammer will claim that the target has an outstanding debt with the ATO and there is threat of an arrest if the amount is not paid immediately.
To help recognise such calls, here are some of the tactics that scammers may use:
- The call will appear to come from a legitimate ATO number
- It may use the number 6216 1111 and other official looking numbers
- The call may come through as a three-way conversation with the victim, the scammer posing as an ATO official and another scammer posing as the victim tax agent.
To help distinguish between a scam and a legitimate call, keep an eye out for some of the warning signs. The ATO will never:
- Threaten you with arrest
- Demand immediate payment, particularly through unusual means. These may include bitcoin, prepaid credit cards or gift cards.
- Refuse your request to allow you to speak with your regular tax agent or another trusted advisor who helps you handle your tax affairs.
- Present a phone number on caller ID
- Use aggression or intimidation tactics.
If you suspect that you have been contacted by a scam artist, here are some of the ways that you may take action:
- Call the ATO to check if the call was legitimate
- Regularly keep track of your tax affairs
- Check your myGov account or contact your registered tax agent
- DO NOT call the scammer back, but you can independently locate a contact number for the organisation that was referenced in the call.