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  • February 2020 ATO impersonation scam report

    In February 2020:

    • 542 scam reports were recorded via our dedicated phone line
    • we received 768 online scam reports
    • 782 phishing scam emails were reported to reportemailfraud@ato.gov.au
    • $14,285 was reported as being paid to scammers
      • Bank transfers recorded the highest amount paid – $9,400
      • Western Union netted scammers $1,325
      • Gift Cards accounted for $1,800
    • 57 clients provided scammers with sensitive personal identifying information (PII) in February. When a client advises they have provided sensitive PII, we assess potential consequences and apply protective measures to secure their taxation and superannuation accounts where appropriate.

    See also:

    Monthly comparison

     Chart 1 shows a comparison between email, phone and online reports received each month to date in 2019 and 2020  
Number of emails reported: 
March 672; April 669; May 1.279; June 498; July 475; August 523; September 525; October 1,769; November 1,241; December 410; 2020 January 2,114; 
February 917
Number of phone calls reported: March 7,646; April 8,342; May 6,771; June 6,444; July 6,645; August 6,510; September 4,059; October 828; November 723; December 418; 2020 January 483; February 542
Number of online reports received: 
July 6,179; August 5,080; September 3,620; October 750; November 635; December 327; 2020 January 610; February 768

    Delivery methods

    Figure 2: Reported ATO impersonation scammer delivery methods, February 2020

    Chart 2 shows a comparison between the most popular channels scammers used to contact people in February 2020. Of those, reported phone calls or voice messages accounted for 54%, email accounted for 13%, and text message accounted for 33%.

    Payment methods

    Figure 3: ATO impersonation scammer payment methods, February 2020

    Chart 3 shows the total amount paid, method of payment and number of people who paid scammers in January 2020.
4 paid $9,400 via Bank transfer
1 paid $550 via Cardless cash
2 paid $1,800 via a Gift card
1 paid $1,325 via Western Union
1 paid $210 via iTunes
1 paid $500 via Google Play
1 paid $500 via method not specified

    See also:

    • How to pay for legitimate ways to pay your tax debt

    What we're doing

    We alerted the community to another text message scam where scammers offer an 8% bonus on 2020 tax returns to victims of recent natural disasters. Similar to last month, scammers text people, asking them to click on a link and provide personal identifying information to receive a refund. The link directed them to a fake myGov website and asked for their bank details and other personal information for 'verification purposes'.

    Remember, we will never send an email or text message asking you to access online services via a hyperlink. Also, we will never ask you to provide personal identifying information to receive a refund from us.

    Always access online government services independently, never via hyperlinks. You should activate two-factor authentication on your account for added security where available.

    We continue to do what we can to stop scammers, but remember you can play your part by staying vigilant.

    See also:

    Next step:

    Last modified: 06 May 2020QC 62518