The government's Stay Smart Online website (www.staysmartonline.gov.au/) warns taxpayers that there is a surge in scammers impersonating trusted bodies like myGov and the ATO to trick people into giving them money or personal details. These scams can take the form of emails, text messages and fake myGov login pages.
In June 2019, the ATO received 6,444 reports of tax-time scams that impersonated the ATO. Emails with links to fake myGov login pages were the most widespread email scam in that month.
The trend in scammers demanding 'debt' payments via gift cards is also on the rise, with Australians aged 18–44 years making the majority of iTunes payments to scammers ($94,420 in June alone), closely followed by Google Play cards ($27,993).
If someone is unsure about the validity of a tax-related message or phone call, they can contact the ATO Scam Hotline on 1800 008 540.
Stay Smart Online reminds that:
- myGov will never send anyone a text, email or attachment with links or web addresses that ask a person for their login or personal details. Do not click on links in emails or text messages claiming to be from myGov.
- People should always log into their official myGov account to check their tax, lodge their return and check if they owe a debt or are due a refund. Do this by manually typing https://my.gov.au/ into the internet browser.
- Unfortunately, ATO and other scams continue well beyond the 30 October deadline for tax returns, as scammers know many people are waiting for a refund or debt owed. It's important to watch out for scams throughout the year.