26 September 2023

Aussies warned over ‘insidious’ ATO scams

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Tamika Seeto* says scammers are creating fake profiles and impersonating Australian Taxation Office workers

Scammers are impersonating Australian Taxation Office (ATO) workers on social media and trying to trick Aussies into handing over their money and personal information.

The Federal Government is warning Aussies about the scammers, who are targeting people who ask questions or make complaints about the ATO on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms.

The fraudsters then hijack the conversation using a fake ATO profile and offer to help resolve the user’s complaint or follow up on their question.

After earning their trust, the scammer then asks them to click on a link or provide their personal details.

Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Financial Services Stephen Jones has urged Aussies to exercise “extreme caution” on social media.

“Fake tax officer accounts on Twitter and Facebook can be extremely convincing, which is what makes this scam so insidious,” Jones said.

“The tax office will never ask for personal information over social media and never send links that ask you to fill out your personal information like your tax file number, myGov login or bank account details.

“The Government is urging people to exercise extreme caution in their social media interactions.”

The Government said the ATO was working with social media platforms and other government agencies to help remove these interactions.

It’s not the first time scammers have contacted Aussies and pretended to be from the ATO.

Last year, the ATO said it was aware of a high volume of SMS scams telling taxpayers they were owed an income tax payment.

The message then included a link to a fake ATO webpage that tried to steal their personal information, including their credit card details.

Aussies lost $526 million to scams in 2022.

Text messages were the most common form of attack, accounting for more than 69,000 reports during the year.

*Tamika Seeto is a journalist at Yahoo Finance Australia covering personal finance, work and careers amongst other topics.

This article first appeared at au.finance.yahoo.com.

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