With the beginning of a new financial year, comes an increase in reports of tax related scams. This year, the Australian Tax Office (ATO) is warning of an increase in social media impersonation scams. We encourage our members to remain vigilant for scams at all times.
How do these impersonation scams work?
The ATO has reported a rise in fake social media accounts impersonating the ATO, it's employees and senior executive staff across Facebook and other social media platforms.
These fake accounts request victims to send them a direct message so they can help with their enquiry. The scammers behind these fake accounts are trying to steal personal information, including phone numbers, email addresses and bank account information.
How can I protect myself?
The ATO suggests the following checks that may help you verify if a message is really from the ATO:
- How many followers does the account have? The verified ATO Facebook account has over 200,000 followers.
- Review the activity on the accounts. If it's a newly created account, or only has a few posts, it is likely a scam account.
- Does the account have a blue tick? The official ATO Facebook account has blue tick next to the name.
- What is the domain name of the email address associated with the account? Government email addresses end in ‘.gov.au’.
- What is the sender asking for? The ATO will never contact you on social media asking you to log into online services or request personal information.
Are there other tax time scams I should be aware of?
Last year, a common scam was the “fake tax debt” scam. In this scam, scammers would call or text unsuspecting victims to advise of an outstanding debt with the ATO. The scammers provided fake identification numbers, names and contact details in an attempt to appear legitimate. Further, scammers used scare tactics, such as the threat of arrest, to create a false sense of urgency to pressure the individual to pay the outstanding debt.
One of the tell-tale signs of these “fake tax debt” scams was scammers requesting unusual methods of payment, such as gift cards, cryptocurrency or even prepaid debit cards. Once the gift cards or prepaid debit cards were purchased, the scammers would request the card details and/or codes to redeem the value of the card from their side.
If you receive any contact from an individual claiming to be a representative of the ATO, remember:
- You can verify a call by contacting the ATO on 1800 008 540, and
- the ATO will not ask you for card details or any other personal information over the phone nor will they threaten you with arrest for not complying.
If you believe someone has gained access to your personal information, even if the scam appears unrelated to your finances, you should contact your bank immediately. A timely response can be critical in giving you the best chance to stem any loss.
- If you have concerns about your G&C Mutual Bank account contact us on 1300 364 400.
- You can find out how scams work, how to protect yourself, what to do if you’ve been scammed, or report a scam to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) via the Scamwatch website.
As always, G&C Mutual Bank remains committed to your security and privacy online. To understand how we help to keep you safe, please refer to our Security page and for information on common scams and how to protect yourself, please visit the News section of our website.