ATO scam Aussies need to watch out for

With tax time just around the corner, Aussies could easily be tricked by this sneaky new scam.

Image of ATO scam text message. People walking in the city.
Watch out for fake text messages from the ‘ATO’ this tax season. (Source: Scamwatch/Getty)

There’s a new scam doing the rounds that hopes to trick Aussies looking forward to receiving a tax return.

The scam text message, which purports to be sent by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), claims you have an “important message” from the government body.

The text then includes a link that appears to lead to an “ATO refunds” site, but it is actually fake.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Scamwatch has warned Aussies to beware of the text messages.

“The ATO will never send you a link to log in to online services by text messages,” Scamwatch said.

The ATO also sent out warnings about multiple text and email scams during last year’s tax season.

The scams often claim you are owed a tax refund and ask you to click a hyperlink and complete a form. From there, the scammer tries to steal your personal information, including credit card details.

“If you’re ever unsure whether it’s really the ATO, don’t reply. Phone us on 1800 008 540 to check,” the ATO said.

Aussies desperate for tax returns

Millions of Aussies are waiting to lodge their tax return this year, with many desperate to use the cash to pay for bills and other essentials.

Nearly one in four (23 per cent) said the end-of-financial-year boost was “very important” to their budgets, according to the Finder survey, while one in eight (12 per cent) said it was “critical”.

The average Australian tax refund is $2,900. About 15 per cent of Aussies surveyed said they were planning to use the cash to pay their household bills, while 5 per cent said they would put it towards paying off their mortgage.

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