Tax Time Scams: Be on Guard (July 2024 Scam Awareness Update)

Relevant For:


Key Points:

  • ATO impersonation scams are rising.
  • In May 2024, ATO impersonation scam reports increased by 31%.
  • Scammers use unsolicited SMS, email and social media to offer fake refunds or resolve tax issues.
  • ATO is removing hyperlinks from unsolicited SMS to prevent phishing.
  • Verify ATO communications through official contact numbers.
  • The ATO provides resources and a reporting service for scams.

Full Article:

Despite the efforts of the ATO and the National Anti-Scam Centre (NASC), ATO impersonation scams are increasing.

These scams often come through unsolicited SMS, email or social media, claiming to offer refunds, resolve tax issues or alert you to suspicious activity. The ATO advises against engaging with such contacts and recommends verifying communications by looking up official ATO contact numbers.

The NASC, alongside funding for ASIC and ACMA to take down fake investment websites, has made significant strides. Over 5,000 fraudulent websites were removed and 100 million scam text messages were blocked in the last quarter of 2023. However, in May 2024, reports of ATO impersonation scams surged by 31%, showing scammers’ persistence.

To combat this, the ATO is implementing measures such as removing hyperlinks from outbound unsolicited SMS messages. Scammers often use these links in phishing attempts to steal personal information or install malware through sophisticated fake websites, like a counterfeit myGov login page.

The ATO’s dedicated team monitors scams and aids victims. Comprehensive information about email, SMS, phone and social media scams is available on the ATO website, which also offers a reporting service for ATO impersonation scams.

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