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Taxpayers get wise to ATO impersonators


Phone, SMS and email have fallen markedly since last year.  

By Tony Zhang 12 minute read

Fake calls and messages from people claiming to be the ATO have fallen 70 per cent compared with 12 months ago, according to the latest data.

Just 1,058 cases of attempted scams were reported to ATO in April, down from 3,075 last May.

The ATO said the most common attempt at impersonation was by phone while email scams had declined since February after the ATO issued an alert over a cryptocurrency con. 


People reported losing $6,857 to scammers and the most common method of scam payment was by bank transfer.

“When someone tells us they’ve provided their sensitive information, we assess the potential consequences and apply measures to secure their tax and super accounts where needed,” the ATO said.

“This intelligence helps shape our community scam education and awareness strategies.”

In April, the ATO was seeing an increase in scams involving fake tax file number (TFN) applications.

“These scams tell people they can help them get a TFN for a fee,” the ATO said.

“But instead of delivering this service, these fraudulent websites steal the person’s money and personal information.”

These scams were often advertised on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

“If you’re applying for a TFN through a tax agent, always check they are registered with the Tax Practitioners Board,” the ATO said.

“The same goes for Australian business number applications – never give out your personal information unless you’re sure of who you’re dealing with.”

The ATO warned if identity thieves steal your identity, it could take a long time to fix. 

It may be difficult to get a job or loan, rent a house or apply for government services or benefits.

“If you suspect your personal information, such as your TFN, has been stolen, misused or compromised, phone us as soon as possible on 1800 467 033 between 8.00am and 6.00pm Monday to Friday,” the ATO said.

“We will investigate and can place extra protection on your ATO account.

“We use intelligent systems to automatically detect tax returns suspected of being fraudulently lodged using another person’s identity. These systems help us stop incorrect, invalid or fraudulent refunds before they are paid.

“Our Client Identity Support Centre supports taxpayers who had their identities stolen, misused or compromised. We provide information, advice and assistance to help taxpayers re-establish their identities.”

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Tony Zhang

Tony Zhang


Tony Zhang is a journalist at Accountants Daily, which is the leading source of news, strategy and educational content for professionals working in the accounting sector.

Since joining the Momentum Media team in 2020, Tony has written for a range of its publications including Lawyers Weekly, Adviser Innovation, ifa and SMSF Adviser. He has been full-time on Accountants Daily since September 2021.

You can email Tony at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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