The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is urging Australians to hang up on and deleted tax scam emails after more than $1 million was reported lost to Scamwatch already this year, with over 300 people reporting that they lost money to tax scams in the first half of the year.
These scams often use personal information found online and generally claim that you have underpaid you taxes and are required to repay the tax debt immediately or face frightening repercussions such as arrest. They usually ask for payment via wire money transfer, credit card, direct debit cards or even iTunes cards. The call looks looks like it comes from a local phone number, however most use voice over internet protocol (VOIP) phone numbers to disguise the fact that they are calling from overseas.
While the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) make thousands of outbound calls to taxpayers a week, the ATO would never cold call you about a debt and would never threaten arrest. If you’re not sure, hang up and call the ATO back on 1800 008 540.
To report suspected email scams, you can forward the original email to ReportEmailFraud@ato.gov.au
To report suspected phone scams, you can report them to the ACCC via the Scamwatch report scam page or by calling 1300 795 995.
Reference: www.scamwatch.gov.au “Steer clear of tax scams”, 29/07/2016, http://www.scamwatch.gov.au/news/steer-clear-of-tax-scams?utm_souce=exacttarget&utm_medium=email&utm_term=All%20Subscribers&utm_content=http%3a%2f%2fwww.scamwatch.gov.au%2fnews%2fsteer-clear-of-tax-scams&utm_campaign=Edition+29++4+August+2016_8-August2016, 09/08/2016