The new SMS scam promises an 8 per cent bonus on 2020 tax return to victims of recent natural disasters by asking people to click on a link.
Instead, the link will take people to a fake myGov website designed to steal personal information, including names, addresses, emails, phone numbers and online banking login details.
ATO assistant commissioner Karen Foat said there has been an increase in the number of reports of scammers contacting members of the public pretending to be from the ATO by SMS, email and phone, and that the scammers are becoming increasingly sophisticated.
“Last year, over 15,000 people reported to us that they provided scammers with their personal identifying information,” Ms Foat 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.”
Ms Foat reiterated that the ATO would never send an email or SMS asking a person to access Online services via a hyperlink.
The ATO will also never ask someone 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; or request payment of a debt via cardless cash, iTunes or Google Play cards, prepaid Visa cards, cryptocurrency or direct credit to a personal bank account.
“If you or someone you know has fallen victim to a tax-related scam, the best thing to do is call the ATO as soon as you can on 1800 008 540,” Ms Foat said.
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.