ATO Warns Australians of Scam Emails regarding Tax Returns

As we enter the tax season, the ATO and SCAMwatch is warning Australians of a new email scam that is circulating, claiming to be from the ATO and advising that money is to be transferred into your account. Scam emails claim that acknowledgement is required as well as your personal details so that the transfer can occur.

Consumers are asked to provide details such as their name, email details, date of birth, address and banking details in order to search for any tax refunds. Other times consumers are asked to log into their "tax refund e-portal" or provide credit card details.

The ATO and SCAMwatch stresses that the ATO, Centrelink, banks and financial institutions will never email your requesting verification of personal details for any reason, including tax returns.

These emails go to great lengths to convince recipients that it is genuine - they often contain a replica of the ATO's logo and a link to what appears to be the ATO website. The ATO and SCAMwatch advises Australians NOT to click on any links provided and delete the email immediately.

If you have provided personal or bank details via a link in a scam email, we advise that you contact your financial institution immediately. The ATO asks that you contact them if you have any concerns about the legitimacy of an email you have received.

Key indicators of this scam include:

  • the email is poorly worded and contains spelling and grammatical errors
  • asks for personal details
  • advises of a payment
  • includes an attachment (form)
  • comes from an email address which is not a valid ATO email address

For an example of the fake website and scam emails, please refer to the images below.

Examples of scam emails:

ATO refunds- example 1 - fake email

(Image Source: scamwatch.gov.au)

Recalculation of your tax refund scam email example

Recalculation of your tax refund scam email example 2

Recalculation of your tax refund scam email example 3

(Image Scource: ato.gov.au)

example of scam ATO email

Example of fake website:

ATO refunds- example 2 - fake website

(Image Source: scamwatch.gov.au)

To report this scam, email the ATO at reportemailfraud@ato.gov.au or call 13 28 61.

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