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  • October 2018 ATO impersonation scam report

    In the October 2018 ATO impersonation scam report:

    • 8,859 scam reports were officially recorded this month, of which 1,312 were scam emails reported to reportemailfraud@ato.gov.au
    • $386,130 was reported as being paid to scammers, with payments via bank account or bitcoin accounting for almost 60% of payments. Payments via gift cards continued to increase, accounting for 25% of payments
    • Clients who provided scammers with their personal identifying information (PII) totalled 49%.

    See also:

    Monthly comparison

    Chart 1 shows a comparison between email and phone reports received each month to date in 2018.    The number of emails reported: January 1,461; February 1,362; March 3,850; April 1,568; May 1,349; June 1,268; July 1,135; August 686; September 1,954; October 1,312. The number of phone calls reported: January 1,358; February 1,718; March 2,101; April 1,809; May 1,132; June 2,303; July 2,900; August 3,680; September 6,905; October 9,637.

    Delivery methods

    Chart 2 shows a comparison between the most popular channels scammers used to contact people in October 2018. Of those reported, phone calls or voice messages accounted for 90%; email accounted for 8%; and text message 2%.

    Payment methods

    Chart 3 shows the total amount paid, method of payment and number of people who paid scammers in October 2018. 30 paid $124,138 into bank accounts. 1 paid $1,363 via credit card. 13 paid $104,530 via bitcoin.  23 paid $43,200 via iTunes. 26 paid $99,300 via a gift card. 1 paid $200 via Load & Go. 6 paid $13,400 via a different method

    What we're doing

    In October, scammers began impersonating the ATO in another way, by spoofing the ATO international switchboard number. Following immediate reports from the community and using the support of our switchboard staff, we launched a targeted education and awareness campaign to minimise the number of impacted clients.

    We let our own staff know about the scam, and issued a scam alert on this website and our social media platforms, including FacebookExternal Link and TwitterExternal Link. Small business clients were advised via their newsroom.

    While we received hundreds of reports about this scamming method, only two clients reported paying the scammers. It should be noted that calls originating from the ATO do not project a caller ID number.

    Next step:

    Last modified: 14 Dec 2018QC 57657