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  • October 2020 ATO impersonation scam report

    In the October 2020 ATO impersonation scam report:

    • 9,113 scam reports were recorded via our dedicated phone line
    • we received 13,027 online scam reports
    • 585 phishing scam emails were reported to
    • $543,942 was reported as being paid to scammers
      • Bank transfers recorded the highest amount paid $230,884
      • Gift cards netted scammers $71,108
      • iTunes and Google Play earned scammers a combined total of $115,480
    • 1,437 clients provided scammers with sensitive personal identifying information (PII) in August. 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: Monthly comparison of reported ATO impersonation scams

    Chart 1 comparison between email, phone and online reports received each month 
Number of emails reported: 
November 1,241; December 410; 2020 January 2,114; February 917; March 902; April 796; May 311; June 457; July 458; August 421; September 761; October 590
Number of phone calls reported: 
November 723; December 418; 2020 January 483; February 542; March 563; April 309; May 1,617; June 4,467; July 2,175; August 2,613; September 17,019; October 22,318
Number of online reports received: 
November 635; December 327; 2020 January 610; February 768; March 805; April 346; May 2,061; June 4,134; July 2,394; August 3,023; September 9,358; October 13,027

    Delivery methods

    Chart 2: Reported ATO impersonation scammer delivery methods, October 2020

    Chart 2 comparison between the most popular channels scammers used to contact people in October 2020. Of those, reported phone calls or voice messages accounted for 97%, email accounted for 2%, and text message accounted for 1%.

    Payment methods

    Chart 3: ATO impersonation scammer payment methods, October 2020

    Chart 3 shows the total amount paid, method of payment and number of people who paid scammers in July 2020.
40 paid $230,884 via Bank transfer; 15 paid $6,780 via Cardless cash; 21 paid $71,108 via a Gift card; 7 paid $57,202 via Credit card; 16 paid $51,040 via iTunes; 27 paid $64,440 via Google Play; 6 paid $40,800 via Bitcoin; 7 paid $21,688 via method not specified.

    See also:

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

    What we're doing

    We attended the Community Leader Network which is a group of approximately 50 community leaders who are strongly connected with their communities. We attend these meetings to share our communications and resources in the hope they can be distributed within their communities. These network meetings provide a forum for communities to raise any concerns with us and provide ideas on how we can better engage with our culturally and linguistically diverse audiences who are disproportionately represented in scam victim numbers.

    See also:

    Next step:

    Last modified: 17 Dec 2020QC 64430