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  • May 2018 ATO Impersonation scam report

    In the May 2018 ATO Impersonation scam report:

    • 2146 calls were received into the 1800 008 540 scam reporting hotline, which is similar to what was recorded in April
    • 1349 scam emails were reported into reportemailfraud@ato.gov.au
    • $15,836 was reported as paid to scammers with payments to bank accounts and via iTunes cards accounting for over a third of all payments
    • 34% of clients provided personal identifying information to scammers, increasing the risk to possible future identity crime victimisation.

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    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; April 1568; May1349. The number of phone calls reported: January 1358; February 1718; March 2101; April 1809; May 1132.

    Chart 2: Reported ATO impersonation scammer delivery methods

    Chart 2 shows a comparison between the most popular channels scammers used to contact people in May 2018. Of those reported phone calls or voice messages accounted for 42%; email accounted for 52%; and text message 6%.

    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 May 2018. • 5 paid $5582 into bank accounts• 2 paid $3665 via credit card• 1 paid $1000 via bitcoin• 4 paid $5289 via itunes• 1 paid $100 via a gift card• 1 paid $200 via a different method.

    What we're doing

    National Scam Awareness Week was held 21–25 of May. This year the ‘Stop and Check: is this for real?’ theme was designed to challenge the thinking of the community and to raise awareness of threat based impersonation scams and their impact.

    The ATO brand is often abused by scammers who use 'threat based' scams, such as the fake tax debt scam, to target the community and threaten victims with immediate arrest in order to extract money or personal identifying information.

    We were pleased to be involved in raising community awareness of these scams through the publication of education and awareness messaging across our communications and social media platforms. By sharing and promoting scam awareness messages collaboratively with our partners we were able to reach a broad audience on social media alone.

    You can ensure you are up to date with known ATO impersonation scams and awareness messages by following us on social media or visiting the ATO's Scam Alerts page.

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    Last modified: 09 Aug 2018QC 56445