The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is warning about the continuation of unprecedented numbers of pre-recorded phone calls experienced last year which impersonate legitimate tax office phone numbers. The scammers are sending pre-recorded messages claiming that you have a debt with the ATO, and if you don’t call to arrange payment, a warrant for your arrest will be issued. The scammers are using technology to manipulate caller identification so that your phone displays a legitimate ATO phone number (otherwise known as ‘spoofing’).
Does it affect me?
Calls are being received by hundreds of Australian taxpayers.
How do I stay safe?
Calls from the ATO do not show a number on caller ID (they always appear as a private number) and the ATO don’t use pre-recorded messages.
If you receive a pre-recorded message claiming to be from the ATO, do not return the call and do not provide any personal details, either hang up or simply delete the voicemail. Remember that a legitimate caller from the ATO will never:
- threaten you with immediate arrest
- demand immediate payment, particularly through unusual means such as bitcoin, pre-paid credit cards or gift cards
- refuse to allow you to speak with a trusted adviser or your regular tax agent
- keep you on the line until payment is made.
If you are in doubt about a call claiming to be from the ATO, hang up and phone the ATO’s official scam line on 1800 008 540 to check if the call was legitimate or to report a scam.
For more information, please visit: www.staysmartonline.gov.au