As most of you are aware, we are now in the peak season for many ATO and Tax scams.
Recently, we have been informed of two new methods that scammers are using to phish personal and financial information from their victims.
1) 3-way phone conversations
Scammers are now initiating 3-way phone conversations between their target and two other scammers on the same team. One of the scammers impersonates their target’s tax agent to try and get personal information out of them, whilst the other scammer notes down all of the target’s details behind the scenes.
According to ATO assistant commissioner Kath Anderson:
“One recent example had a taxpayer thinking the telephone conversation was legit, and ended up withdrawing $1,000’s of dollars in cash and depositing it into a bitcoin ATM. He was convinced that the police had a warrant for his arrest.”
“While we see new scams pop up from time to time, the most common scam is still the ‘fake tax debt’ phone scam, though the ‘fake refund’ and ‘refund for a fee’ scams are on the rise.”
2) Fake Invoices or Overdue Payment Notices
Scammers are also sending fake invoices or overdue payment notices to businesses, causing them to pay money into fraudulent accounts.
Recently, a Western Australian Dealership fell victim to this scam suffering a $65,000 hit after getting caught with an invoice scam!
This acts as a warning to all businesses to keep your eye out. Closely scrutinise invoices and ensure that payments are going to the right accounts. If an invoice doesn’t look right it probably isn’t.
“All businesses need to be alert to attempts by scammers to intercept payments that flow to and from their accounts and ensure their email accounts and computer systems have security software to reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim of hacking,” David Hillyard from the ACCC said.
Scam Reports Are On The Rise!
According to the ATO, they’ve received 7,000 scam reports in July and August this year. These reports totaled almost $190,000 in money paid to scammers.
So far, over 1,600 Australians have even handed over their personal or financial information to scammers, usually out of fear or naivety.
“The ATO has seen an increase in reports of emails and SMS’s phishing for personal and financial information and are taking disruptive action against 90 fake ATO web pages”, said Ms Anderson (ATO).
Please protect yourself this tax season by keeping an eye out and being on the defensive. If it doesn’t look or feel right, it’s probably not. AND if you’re ever unsure, call us right away on (03) 9762 7344.
What You Should Look Out For:
Most Australians are good at identifying scams. However, the problem is that scammers are getting smarter every year. They are also becoming much more sophisticated which makes them very convincing.
In addition to the new scams above, be careful of cons involving cloned ATO web addresses linked to dodgy emails.
If you’re asked for an upfront payment related to the ATO or us (your accountant), you can identify it as a scam if:
They are requesting a ridiculous amount of money
They ask for it in a weird kind of currency – such as iTunes vouchers or Bitcoins, or if
Your accountant hasn’t contacted you or spoken about it with you
Remember, if you’re ever unsure or feel something is suss call us immediately on (03) 9762 7344. This way we can ensure that you remain protected.
Other than that, we wish you a great rest of your day & stay safe!