Earlier this month, the Tax Office advised of a new scam involving a fake three-way conversation between a scammer, the victim, and another scammer impersonating a tax agent.
In a new twist, these scammers are now impersonating the victim’s registered tax agent or someone from the agent’s practice by coercing the victim into revealing their agent’s name.
According to the ATO, victims have fallen to the scam, including one who withdrew thousands of dollars in cash and deposited it into a Bitcoin ATM; fearing police had a warrant out for his arrest after the fraudulent phone conversation.
The ATO has asked that tax agents to reach out to clients to inform them that the Tax Office would never demand immediate payments; threaten them with arrest; and request payment by unusual means such as iTunes vouchers, store gift cards or Bitcoin cryptocurrency.
Clients can also hang up the call and contact their tax agent directly to confirm the status of their tax affairs.
Earlier this year, the ATO issued similar warnings over a myGov scam, after fraudulent emails promising taxpayers a tax refund were issued en masse, in an attempt to steal personal and financial information.
Scams are amongst the core issues affecting taxpayers and small business clients in 2018, with the ACCC revealing that $2.3 million in scams were reported as of August this year.
Jotham Lian is the editor of Accountants Daily, the leading source of breaking news, analysis and insight for Australian accounting professionals.
Before joining the team in 2017, Jotham wrote for a range of national mastheads including the Sydney Morning Herald, and Channel NewsAsia.