SMS scam targeting natural disaster victims promises tax bonus
Mar 17, 3 months ago

SMS scam targeting natural disaster victims promises tax bonus

The ATO is warning the community about a new SMS scam which promises an 8% bonus on 2020 tax returns to victims of recent natural disasters.

The scam text message says: “Due to natural disasters, Australians are entitled to an 8% bonus on their tax return. Please begin the process by filling out the form below. Link: https://my.gov.verification-digital.com”

ATO Assistant Commissioner Karen Foat said this is a classic case of fraudsters impersonating the ATO in an effort to collect personal information from people like names, addresses, emails, phone numbers and online banking login details.

This particular scam includes a link to a fake myGov website which looks genuine.

Over the past few years the ATO has seen an increasing number of reports of scammers contacting members of the public pretending to be from the ATO by SMS, email and phone, and the scammers are becoming more and more sophisticated.

“Last year, over 15,000 people reported to us that they provided scammers with their personal identifying information”, Ms Foat said.

“If you receive an SMS, call or email and aren’t sure if it’s genuine, it’s OK to not respond. Instead, you can phone the ATO’s dedicated scam line 1800 008 540 to check if it is legitimate. You can also report a scam online at https://www.ato.gov.au/reportascam or give us a call”.

The ATO does send SMS and emails and also makes phone calls to taxpayers, but note that the ATO does not project their phone number onto the recipient’s called ID – so people can be sure that, if there’s a number on their called ID, it’s not the ATO calling.

Any clients impacted by disaster and needing assistance or anyone suffering financial hardship is encouraged to contact us on 49581829.

Detailed information is also available on the ATO’s website at ato.gov.au/NaturalDisasters.

Ref: ATO media release, 13 February 2020.

For more information, contact our office on +61 2 4958 1829.

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