The ATO has just confirmed that impersonation scams have been reported amongst the community – a new method of scamming whereby the scammer initiates a three-way conversation between the scammer, the victim and another scammer impersonating the victim’s tax agent.
Several of our clients have received such calls. One Nexis client told us that she received a call whereby the person said they were from ATO Audit Investigations calling about miscalculations from a previous year’s tax return. They asked if she was home and said there was a warrant out for her arrest unless she deposited money immediately. They even asked who her tax agent was, which is believed to be a further scam tactic – so they can call back again pretending to be the agent convincing the person to pay up.
Please be aware of scams such as these and don’t get caught. Find out what the ATO has to say about these scams, and follow these tips when dealing with suspicious calls such as these:
- Don’t be afraid to hang up and call the ATO on 1800 008 540 to verify if the call was legitimate or to report a scam.
- Know the status of your tax affairs – you should know of any debts owed, refunds due and lodgments outstanding.
- Scammers can often be easily identified as they may:
- Tell you that you are committing tax fraud.
- Threaten your immediate arrest.
- Ask you for payment immediately, often using unusual payment methods that the ATO doesn’t use e.g. Bitcoin.
- They may become abusive if questioned.
- They may offer you a tax refund but request your personal details to pay it and then actually steal your own funds.
Don’t be fooled. If you’re not sure about a call you have received, you can also call your friendly team at Nexis.