ATO uses SMS and emails for important information and promotional purposes. Recently, the ATO announced that from 5-23 November 2018, they will contact all clients who are entitled for refund but have incorrect bank details provided on the filed tax returns. An email list of clients will be sent to tax agents the ATO has contacted and no further action is needed to take for the agents.
The SMS text message informs clients that due to incorrect bank details, their refund could not be processed and they are advised to contact the ATO to provide correct bank account details. This comes after a new tax scam was discovered by ATO where a fraudster impersonates a tax agent.
Clients who contact the ATO within seven days to provide their correct bank details will be refunded electronically while a refund check will be issued to those who will fail to reply. Clients can call 13 28 61 to correct their details.
The ATO has advised tax practitioners to contact their clients to inform them that the ATO would never threaten clients with arrests, jail nor demand immediate payments. ATO would never advise unusual payment methods such as iTunes vouchers, Bitcoin cryptocurrency, store gift cards or direct credit to a bank account with a BSB that isn’t either 092-009 or 093-003. Lastly, it will never send an SMS advising taxpayers to click a certain link and provide login, personal and financial information or to download a file or open an attachment.
Around 2.3 million scams as of August this year have been reported which makes it as the core issues among taxpayers and small business clients. While ATO contacts taxpayers by phone, email and SMS regularly, there might be a chance that it could be a scammer on the other end. Phone scams are the most common however, scammers constantly change their tactics. Thus, ATO reminds taxpayers and small businesses to stay alert and beware of unsolicited emails and SMS.
During the tax season this year, a high alert was issued following a scam on fake myGov email advising a tax payer a refund but instead, the intention is to steal financial and personal information.
The ATO reminds taxpayers to report the incident if they feel that it’s a scammer as this will help the ATO to get an accurate picture of what is happening with the current scams, which will ultimately help to protect the Australian Community.
Taxpayers may call 1800 008 540 to report a scam or to check if the call, email or SMS was legitimate.