January 23, 2021

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ATO warning over natural disaster relief tax return scam

2 min read
<p>Victims of recent natural disasters are being warned of a fraudulent text message claiming to be the from the Australian Taxation Office.</p>

Victims of recent natural disasters are being warned of a fraudulent text message claiming to be the from the Australian Taxation Office.

The SMS promises an eight per cent bonus on 2020 tax returns to victims of recent natural disasters, such as bushfires and floods.

By impersonating the ATO, scammers hope to collect personal information from people like names, addresses, emails, phone numbers and online banking login details.

Lodging a paper tax return is still an option, but the ATO says online is faster and easier.

The phishing scam links to a fake website designed to look like the official myGOV login.

ATO Assistant Commissioner Karen Foat said there have been an increasing number of reports of scammers contacting members of the public pretending to be from the ATO by SMS, email, and phone.

"Last year, over 15,000 people reported to us that they provided scammers with their personal identifying information," she said.

"Your personal and financial information is like the keys to your identity and your money. Once a scammer has your data, they will either sell it on the black market or use it to impersonate you.

"Armed with your details, scammers can do things like get a loan or commit fraud in your name, access your bank account and shop using your credit card, lodge tax returns, or steal your superannuation."

The ATO will never do the following in an SMS or email:

• Send an SMS or email requesting you click on a hyperlink to log on to government services

• Ask you to provide any personal identifying information in order to receive a refund

• Use aggressive or rude behaviour, or threaten you with immediate arrest, jail or deportation

• Project our number onto your caller ID – so people can be sure that if there's a number on their caller ID, it's not the ATO calling

• Request payment of a debt via cardless cash, iTunes or Google Play cards, pre-paid Visa cards, cryptocurrency, or direct credit to a personal bank account.

If you receive an SMS, call, or email that feels suspicious , contact the ATO's dedicated scam line 1800 008 540 to check if it is legitimate.

Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/technology/ato-scam-warning-over-natural-disaster-relief-tax-return-sms/b6ef2992-985b-4204-953b-bda4bc791e79

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