2 June 2016

It's That Time of Year - ATO Scams on the Rise Again

If there's one way to know that it's tax time, it's the amount of scam emails and calls received, ostensibly from the ATO.

Last year, as outlined in our newsletter, it seemed to be phone calls that scammers used, but this year it's been reported that emails are the primary method being used.  Some of our staff members have seen the emails and they look very legitimate.  It's only because we deal with the ATO on a daily basis that they could see they were spam! 

It appears that the scammers are getting very creative, and even go to the trouble of putting local phone numbers at the bottom of these emails.  We received a call from a man, who has no ties to Overells at all, saying our phone number was at the bottom of a very genuine-looking email from the ATO stating that they had reviewed his tax return, found he had an $X amount of money refundable, and that his 'fiscal report' was attached.  Needless to say we advised he should delete the email straight away and not open any attachments!

Typically these email scams will either demand payment of fake tax debts, threaten prosecution or arrest if payment is not made immediately, or, as above, will attach a 'report' no doubt holding malware or ransomware, which either corrupt your system or demand payment in order to release your files. 

As your tax agent, all ATO calls should come through our office, especially if it concerns tax payments.  It is also very unusual for the ATO to make calls before some sort of overdue debt reminder has been sent, which we will always forward to you. 

If you have been contacted directly by the ATO regarding payments and are not sure if the call is a scam or not, refer the caller back to us.  If it is the ATO you won't need to give them any information as they will have us listed as your tax agent and our contact details on file.  If you are ever unsure please let us know immediately and we will be able to confirm whether the call is genuine.

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This Newsletter, of necessity, has dealt with matters of a technical nature in general terms only. Clients should contact us for detailed information on any of the items in the Newsletter. No responsibility for loss occasioned to any person acting or refraining from acting in reliance upon any material in this Newsletter can be accepted by any member or employee of the firm.

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