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  • February 2019 ATO impersonation scam report

    In the February 2019 ATO impersonation scam report:

    • 9,342 phone scam reports were officially recorded this month, a significant decrease of over 13,800 reports from January.
    • 327 phishing scam emails were reported to reportemailfraud@ato.gov.au.
    • $256,635 was reported as being paid to scammers, over $240,000 less than January. The number of bank transfer payments significantly increased in February accounting for 47% of the total payments while Google Play and iTunes combined accounted for 49%. There were no payments via Bitcoin reported this month.
    • Clients who provided scammers with their personal identifying information (PII) totalled 52% which is slightly lower than January.

    See also:

    Monthly comparison

    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 and 2019   The number of emails reported: March 3,850; April 1,568; May1,349; June 1,268, July 1,135, August 686, September 1,954, October 1,312; November 1,276, December 1,625;  2019 - January 987, February 647.  The number of phone calls reported: March 2,101; April 1,809; May 1,132; June 2,303, July 2,900, August 3,680, September 6,905; October 9,637; November 37,749; December 25,473; 2019 - January  23,237, February 9,342

    Delivery methods

    Chart 2: Reported ATO impersonation scammer delivery methods, February 2019

    Chart 2 shows a comparison between the most popular channels scammers used to contact people in February 2019. Of those, reported phone calls or voice messages accounted for 97%, email accounted for 2%, and SMS accounted for 1%.

    Payment methods

    Chart 3: ATO impersonation scammer payment methods, February 2019 

    Chart 3 shows the total amount paid, method of payment and number of people who paid scammers in February 2019. 43 paid $120,655 into bank accounts  33 paid $57,770 via iTunes 14 paid $68,510 via Google Play 2 paid $2,700 via a gift card 2 paid $7,000 via a different method

    What we're doing

    This month saw a significant downward trend in the volume of scams reported to the ATO.

    We continued to respond to ongoing community and media attention around ATO impersonation scams, delivering scams awareness messaging through a variety of media channels such as the launch of a new scam warning video across ATO social media platforms, that included FacebookExternal Link, TwitterExternal Link and LinkedInExternal Link.

    See also:

    Next step:

    Last modified: 24 Apr 2019QC 58626