New tax scam warning over identity theft text


A new warning has been issued over fraudsters pretending to be Australian Taxation Office officials to scam money and personal details from unsuspecting victims.

The ATO issued a warning on Friday about the “emergence of a new tactic”.

Assistant Commissioner Karen Foat said in a statement scammers had been developing new ways to try and get money and personal information over the summer.

The ATO is warning people about a new text scam trying to obtain personal details for the purposes of identity theft. Source: Getty Images (file pic)

“We are seeing the emergence of a new tactic, where scammers are using an ATO number to send fraudulent SMS messages to taxpayers asking them to click on a link and hand over their personal details in order to obtain a refund,” she said. 

This warning follows a previous one about people receiving phone calls from scammers claiming to be from the ATO. The calls claim the recipient of the call is under arrest.

The ATO said it received many reports of scammers last year “maliciously” manipulating caller ID so the phone number that appears is different to the number from which the call originated.

Scammers do not just want money but are now actively trying to steal identities. Source: Getty Images (file pic)

This method is known as “spoofing” and makes the call appear to be legitimate. 

Ms Foat warned the scammers were not just after money, but were now after personal details to steal identities.

“Taxpayers should be wary of any phone call, text message or email asking you to provide login, personal or financial information, especially if you weren’t expecting it,” she said.

Anyone who is unsure about a text, phone call or email they have received can call 1800 008 540 to determine if it is legitimate or to report a scam. They can also visit Scamwatch for more information.

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