Tax time could really be taxing if you give out personal details to scammers impersonating Federal Government organisations.
WA ScamNet has received multiple reports from consumers who have received emails falsely claiming to be from the Australian Tax Office (ATO) or Services Australia.
The emails are nothing more than phishing attempts to gain your personal information in order to steal your identity.
ATO tax refund scam
- The email claims the recipient is entitled to receive a tax refund if they send personal information, including their:
- Tax File Number (TFN)
- Bank BSB and account number, or Osko PayID
- Residential address
- Copies of driver’s licence (both sides)
- Copy of Medicare card.
- The email claims to come from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), but in fact comes from an unrelated email address. For example, in this case it is @kuc.biglobe.ne.jp
- The consumer is asked to send their personal details to firstname.lastname@example.org (another email address unrelated to the ATO).
- The email falsely claims the ATO is checking all claims made through the COVID-19 related JobKeeper payments and Backing Business Incentive Scheme and urges the receiver to send copies of their driver’s licence and Medicare card to substantiate their identification.
- The ATO does not ask you to provide personal information via email or SMS.
- The email in this instance appears to come from an @ato.gov.au email address, but our investigation revealed that the email address has been spoofed (disguised).
- If the consumer hits “reply”, the email address becomes @jobkeeper-payments.com, which is hosted on a Russian domain. When translated into English, it appears this page has been solely set-up to host the email.
Services Australia scam
- The email falsely claims to be from Services Australia claiming to give you ‘prominence’ to your qualification for a subsidy benefit or grant.
- The email uses the name ‘Australian Government / Services Australia’ but the email address is @newsplus.ch
- It requests detailed information including your full name, DOB, address, TFN and copies of driver’s licenses and/or passport and Medicare cards be sent through via return email.
- If the consumer hits “reply” the email address becomes a @pobox.sk address.
- The domain seems to only be set up to host the return email address.
How to tell it’s a scam
- Sometimes you can tell it’s not really from the ATO or Services Australia (or any other organisation) by checking the sender’s address.
- Although it might say ‘ATO’ or ‘Services Australia’ or something similar in the sender box, the return email address might be a non-Government email address. If that’s the case, it will usually be from a free email account provider.
- Be aware that the ATO and Services Australia do not ask you to provide personal information via email or SMS.
How to protect yourself:
- If you receive an email like this, DO NOT REPLY with the requested information.
- If you receive a suspicious call, email or text message claiming to be from the ATO, you can:
- If you receive a suspicious email or text message claiming to be from Services Australia, you can:
- Forward the email or a screenshot of the text message to email@example.com
- Contact the Scams and Identity Theft Help Desk on 1800 941 126
- NEVER send money or give financial/personal details to someone you don’t know or trust.
- If you have handed over personal information, immediately contact ID Care.
- If in doubt – contact WA ScamNet.
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