A client recently received a phone call, which purportedly came from the ATO, threatening legal action for so called irregularities in her tax return. Luckily she was not home and a message was left on her answering machine, so she had time to call us before responding.
This was a scam to try and gain access to her private information, which in turn could have been used for identity theft.
The ATO has posted about this threat on its website.
It is important to note that these scams don’t only appear to come from the ATO, but also from many other institutions, like banks, telcos and superfunds. Scammers even use the institutions’ logos and corporate colours when sending out their fake emails to make them seem legitimate.
There are few things to look out for when spotting a scam:
- The call or email is unsolicited
- They do not address you by name
- They ask for personal or financial information
- It is poorly worded
- It promises you money
- It has attachments or links requesting you lodge forms (this can result in spyware or viruses infiltrating your computer system).
It is important that you are careful not to open any email attachments, unless you know who they are from. Similarly, it is crucial that you never provide any personal details, or discuss any financial information, unless you know who you are dealing with.
*Correct as of June 2015
*Disclaimer – this article has been produced by Kreston Stanley Williamson as a service to its clients and associates. The information contained in the article is of general comment only and is not intended to be advice on any particular matter. Before acting on any areas contained in this article, it is imperative you seek specific advice relating to your particular circumstances. Liability limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.