The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is reminding Australians to keep an eye out for anything that looks suspicious and protect their private information this tax time.
Already this year the ATO has registered over 17,067 scam reports. Of these, 113 Australians handed over $1.5 million to fraudsters with about 2,500 providing some form of personal information, including tax file numbers.
“We have already seen a fivefold increase in scams from January to May this year and typically expect further increases during the tax time period,” ATO assistant commissioner Kath Anderson said.
“The large number of people lodging their tax returns means scammers are particularly active, so it’s important to keep an eye out for anything that looks suspicious and protect your private information.”
Ms Anderson said that some scams are harder to spot than others and that people should be wary of emails, phone calls and SMS during tax time that claim to be from the ATO, even if it seems legitimate.
“Scammers locate genuine ATO numbers from our website and project these numbers in their caller ID in an attempt to legitimise their call – a form of impersonation known as ‘spoofing’,” she said.
“While we do make thousands of calls per week to the community, our outbound calls do not project numbers on caller ID. If one appears, it’s most likely a scam.”