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  • April 2018 ATO Impersonation scam report

    In the April 2018 ATO Impersonation scam report:

    • 2181 calls were received into the 1800 008 540 scam reporting hotline, a 33% decrease to March
    • 620 impersonation scam reports were officially recorded and over 1500 emails reported to reportemailfraud@ato.gov.au
    • $18,487 was reported as paid to scammers with payments to Bitcoin accounts being the most common payment method - almost 62% of payments were made using this method
    • 27% of clients provided personal identifying information to scammers, increasing the risk to possible future identity crime victimisation.

    See also:

    Chart 1: Monthly comparison of reported ATO Impersonation scams

    Chart 1 shows a comparison between email and phone reports received each month to date in 2018.   The number of emails reported: January 1461; February 1362; March 3850; and April 1568. The number of phone calls reported: January 1358; February 1718; March 2101; and April 1809.

    Chart 2: Reported ATO impersonation scammer delivery methods

    Chart 2 shows a comparison between the most popular channels scammers used to contact people in April 2018.  Reports show that 45% of scams were received via email; 54% were by phone or voice message; and 1% was by text message.

    Chart 3: ATO Impersonation scammer payment methods

    Chart 3 shows the total amount paid, method of payment and number of people who paid scammers in April 2018. • 1 paid $4450 into a bank account• 1 paid $178 via personal credit card• 4 paid $11459 via Bitcoin payments• 1 paid $2000 via iTunes vouchers• 1 paid $400 via a gift card.

    What we're doing

    ATO scam reports have recently shown an increasing trend in scammer payments via Bitcoin, with $11,459 being paid in April. This brings the total reported payments via Bitcoin to $36,429 this year.

    With the emerging popularity of bitcoin as a preferred scammer payment method, the ATO has recently issued a media release titled Beware bitcoin tax scammers warning the community on ATO impersonation scammers requesting payments by bitcoin or other cryptocurrency.

    We reached out to our international counterparts to see if this was a global trend. Other revenue collection agencies confirmed they were seeing similar activity and distributed their own version of the media release.

    Through regular engagement with our international partners we are able to initiate a collaborative approach to scam awareness and disruption tactics around the globe.

    Next step:

    See also:

    Last modified: 09 Aug 2018QC 56440