Like most organisations, the Australian Taxation office (ATO) has been using electronic means to communicate with stakeholders, including the use of email and SMS as a means to contact taxpayers. Unfortunately, scammers have spotted a business opportunity and have moved in to try to capitalise. Emails usually including the words ‘Tax Refund’, purporting to be from the ATO have tried to trick taxpayers into providing their private details. Taxpayers are asked to provide details such as their name, email details, date of birth, address and banking details in order to search for any tax refunds. In some cases, emails may also direct taxpayers to a bogus ATO website which asks for personal information and credit card details. While the ATO has confirmed that it uses email and SMS to contact taxpayers, it has made it clear that it will never ask a taxpayer to provide information by email or SMS.
If you receive such a request, please contact our office, as chances are that it will be a scam. If you wish to check the legitimacy of ATO communications, you can also contact the ATO by obtaining the appropriate telephone number directly from the ATO website – don’t rely on a link in an email or a telephone number it may contain. In this age of sophisticated schemes involving fraud and identity theft, it is imperative to take great care with your personal information.