The ATO reports that scammers take almost a billion dollars from more than 800,000 Australians every year. Scams involving tax are common, and victims will often find that their identities have been misused or sold to commit fraud.
Tax scam example
George received an email claiming to be from the ATO, stating that his income tax refund had been ‘recalculated’ and that he was entitled to an additional $250. All he had to do was click on a link in the email, provide some details, and he could expect the extra money in a few days.
He clicked on the link in the email, which took him to a website that looked authentic. All he had to do was complete the form online, then click the print button and send the printed form to the ATO in Canberra. When he clicked the ‘print’ button, not only did he print out the ‘claim form’ but he also unknowingly sent his full identity and credit card details electronically to an organised criminal syndicate in the Ukraine.
His identity was then sold on the black market. His credit card was used fraudulently to make $10,000 in purchases from online merchants. The syndicate also lodged a false income tax return in his name.
These schemes are becoming more common and all internet users should be wary of emails claiming that they are owed or can make money.