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    Dear Taxpayer,  

    YOU ARE DUE TO RECEIEVE A $2,785 REFUND CLICK HERE TO CLAIM YOUR TAX RETURN…..is something you will never see the ATO ask you to do in a text message or email.  

    Tax season is in full swing, and while it’s time to get your finances in order, it is also prime time for scammers looking to exploit unsuspecting taxpayers. In May 2024, the ATO received 1,668 reports of ATO impersonation scams – a 31% increase from last month.  

    Among the various tactics used, phishing emails and fraudulent phone calls remain prevalent and effective methods for cybercriminals to steal sensitive information or money. Stay informed and arm yourself with the knowledge to spot and stop these schemes helping you safeguard your personal and financial security. 

    ATO Impersonation  Scam  

    Melbourne architect James received an urgent email appearing to be from the ATO, claiming an issue with his recent tax filing required immediate verification to avoid penalties. Uncertain about any mistakes in his return, James clicked the email’s link, leading to a site resembling the official ATO page. It requested his tax file number, bank details, and driver’s license for “verification.” Fearing fines, James hastily submitted his details.  

    James later realised it was a scam and he reported the incident promptly, unfortunately, his personal information had already been compromised. 

    Stay Safe: Recognising Signs of Tax Scams 

    1. Don’t click on the link 

    The first sign of a scam text or email is a hyperlink. 

    In January, the ATO took action against cybercriminals by removing hyperlinks from text messages, a common method used to direct victims to fraudulent websites for personal information theft or malware installation. 

    “The ATO and myGov won’t send you an SMS or email with a link to access online services,” the ATO said in a warning on its website. 

    2. Calls claiming to be from the ATO that are threatening, demanding, or that involve a prerecorded message.   

    Scammers are cunning in their use of language to craft their deceptive messages often employing formal tones and mimicking official communications from tax authorities. They may also utilise demanding requests for immediate payment or personal information under the guise of verifying tax details or processing refunds. 

    Examples provided by the ATO include messages such as: 

    • “You are due to receive an ATO Direct refund.” 
    • “You have a new message in your myGov inbox – click here to view.” 
    • “You need to update your details to allow your Tax return to be processed.” 
    • “We need to verify your incoming tax deposit.” 

    It’s crucial to scrutinise such messages carefully and verify their authenticity through official channels to avoid falling victim to phishing scams. 

    3. Requests for Personal Information

    Legitimate organisations typically do not ask for sensitive information like tax file numbers or bank details via email or phone.

    4. Verify first

    If you receive a communication claiming to be from the ATO, check it’s legitimate by calling the ATO helpline on 1800 008 540. Don’t use contact details provided by a potential scammer. 

    5. Stay Educated  

    Surprisingly, nine out of ten people believe they can easily identify a fake SMS or email.  

    By staying vigilant and informed, you can protect yourself from falling victim to tax time scams. Recognising the signs of fraud and knowing how to respond will empower you to safeguard your personal and financial information. More information on scams is available on the Scamwatch website, including how to make a report and where to get help. 

    Are you confident in your ability to spot scams?  

    Test your knowledge by taking our interactive quiz at Recognise and Report Scams Quiz and see how well you fare against common scam tactics.  

    At Chill IT, we understand the critical importance of cybersecurity awareness in protecting your organisation from phishing attacks. We offer a phishing campaign that includes an executive report identifying employees in your business who need additional training in recognising scam emails.
    Take action today to safeguard your information and educate your team!  Fill out the form below or contact us on 1300 796 246 to learn more about our tailored training solutions.

     

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