The tax office this week released a statement to tax professionals warning of scams it says may currently be in operation.
“We continue to see instances of scam emails, SMS or phone calls where criminals try to steal money or information from unsuspecting individuals and tax professionals,” the statement read.
“These scams can be very convincing. To protect personal information, it is important you and your clients know some of the common characteristics of a scam.”
The ATO said scam communications often have some identifying characteristics that professionals can look out for, including that they are unsolicited; do not address the recipient by name; ask for personal or financial information; are poorly worded, containing spelling and grammatical mistakes; promise the recipient money; and often contain an attachment or fake links requesting the recipient to lodge a form. Opening these attachments or links can lead to spyware or a virus being downloaded.
In a separate communication, the Tax Practitioners Board also warned tax agents to be aware of tax scams and fraud.
“It is important that you protect yourself and your business from scams and fraud and be particularly vigilant when taking on new clients,” the board said.
“You need to ask questions, consider the answers, and form a professional judgment.”
These warnings come just four weeks after the ATO issued a similar warning in which it said “fraudsters are intimidating people into paying a fake tax debt over the phone”.