This week the ATO warned taxpayers to “…be aware of fraudsters as they target people lodging their income tax returns by the 31 October deadline”. It was revealed that 45,588 reports of actual or attempted tax scams had been recorded during the year to 30 June. The ATO encouraged taxpayers to report scams directly to them.
Chief Technology Officer Todd Heather said “This year we are seeing more targeted scams sent to taxpayers where the perpetrators make the email more convincing by using the latest ATO website imagery and the names and signatures of real ATO staff”. He also noted “…a nasty phone scam where taxpayers are threatened with arrest if they do not pay a fake tax debt over the phone”.
The ATO works directly with local and international law enforcement authorities to track down and prosecute scammers. The ATO has also launched a web video campaign (www.ato.gov.au/identitycrime) to help taxpayers protect their personal information.