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Government warns taxpayers again of myGov ATO scams


Fraudsters are still sending bogus messages to gain access to personal information and illegally claiming tax refunds, the government says.

By Christine Chen 12 minute read

The government has once again warned that a “large number” of scammers are sending fake myGov ATO messages in an attempt to steal personal information to claim fraudulent tax refunds.  

“The Albanese government urges Australians to be vigilant to scammers targeting ATO log in details to commit tax fraud,” the government said in a statement on Friday.

“To be clear – the ATO or myGov will never send an email or text message with a link to sign in to myGov,” it said.


Scammers pretended to be from myGov and sent taxpayers fake messages from the ATO through text or email. Common phrases used included: “You are due to receive an ATO direct refund” or “You have a new message in your myGov inbox – click here to view”.

The scam has been circulating since 2021. Last year, the ATO said nearly 20,000 scams had been reported in the lead-up to tax return season, prompting the agency to warn taxpayers to access government services directly instead of through links on texts or emails.

The Inspector-General of Taxation and Taxation Ombudsman (IGTO) has also opened an investigation into how the ATO handles identity theft in December.

Minister for Government Services Bill Shorten said Services Australia and partners responded to over 6,000 scams attempting to impersonate myGov last year.

“With the number of scam websites increasing dramatically, everyone needs to be vigilant,” he said.

He recommended taxpayers use the myGov app, which required biometric authentication instead of a username and password.

“A very secure way to interact with myGov is via the myGov app. In the same way many of us use banking apps, most modern phones will allow you to sign in to myGov with fingerprint or face recognition, so you don’t need to use a user ID, password and an SMS code.”

Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones said the government was working hard to respond to the “scourge” of scammers.

“Scam losses are going down for the first time in years and almost halved in the last quarter of 2023. This is a direct result of the government’s investment to crack down on scammers and make it harder for them to target Aussie consumers.”

“It’s important that Australians remain vigilant to the warning signs and report any suspicious activity.”

As part of the crackdown, it set up the $58 million National Anti-Scams Centre (NASC) within the ACCC last year.

It has also committed $223 million to the ATO‑led Serious Financial Crimes Taskforce.

The government’s strong response comes after Australians reported losing $3.1 billion in 2022 to scams, an 80 per cent increase on the prior year.

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Christine Chen

Christine Chen


Christine Chen is a graduate journalist at Accountants Daily and Accounting Times, the leading sources of news, insight, and educational content for professionals in the accounting sector.

Previously, Christine has written for City Hub, the South Sydney Herald and Honi Soit. She has also produced online content for LegalVision and completed internships at EY and Deloitte.

Christine has a commerce degree from the University of Western Australia and is studying a Juris Doctor degree at the University of Sydney. 

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