ATO Warns of SMS and Email Tax Scams

Tax season has rapidly arrived. Recent frauds posing as messages from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) appear widespread. Personal and financial information must be protected with awareness and caution. Be wary of these frauds; the information below can help you recognise bogus messages.

 

Fake Tax Refunds via SMS

A large number of SMS frauds were recorded in July 2022. These messages, purporting to be from the ATO, falsely imply that you owe an income tax repayment and direct you to click a link and fill out a form. The URL takes you to a bogus ATO website that requests personal identifying information, including credit card information.

The image below shows one example of what this scam can look like.

A scam SMS that says you are owed an income tax repayment, and asks you to click a hyperlink to complete a form

Remember, the ATO would never send you an SMS with a link to their online services or request your credit card information. If you receive such an SMS, do not click any links and immediately report it.

 

Email Scams: False Tax Declarations

Email phishing schemes posing as ATO messages increased in June 2022. These emails falsely inform recipients that their ‘2022 tax lodgement’ has been received and request that they open an attachment to sign a paper and complete their ‘to-do list data’. This document directs you to a bogus Microsoft login page meant to steal your login credentials, allowing criminals access to important accounts.

Like the SMS hoax, the ATO will never send an email including a link to their online services or request personal identifying information via unsolicited messaging. If you receive such an email, do not accept any links or attachments; forward it to [email protected] and then delete it.

The image below shows one example of what this scam can look like.
A scam email telling recipients that their 2022 tax returns has been lodged and asking them to sign the document attached to the email.

A fake Microsoft login screen that asks recipients to enter their account details and password.

It is critical to remain vigilant in this digital age. Keep your passwords current, and always double-check the source before transmitting important information. If you have any doubts, call the ATO at 1800 008 540 to verify the validity of any communication.