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  • September 2019 ATO impersonation scam report

    In the September 2019 ATO impersonation scam report:

    • 4,059 phone scam reports were officially recorded, a 38% decrease from last month
    • 3,620 online scam reports were received, 29% less than August
    • 366 phishing scam emails were reported to reportemailfraud@ato.gov.au
    • $120,993 was reported as being paid to scammers
      • bank transfers recorded the highest dollar amount paid to scammers, averaging $2,527 per payment
      • iTunes payments were down 61% and Western Union transfers decreased by 71%, while Bitcoin re-emerged with a total of $11,985 paid
       
    • 260 clients provided scammers with sensitive personal identifying information (PII) in September. When we're advised a client has 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 shows a comparison of email, phone and online reports received.  
Number of emails reported: 2018 October 1,312; November 1,276, December 1,625; 2019 January 987; February 647; March 672; April 669; May 1.279; June 498; July 475; August 523; September 525.
Number of phone calls reported: 2018 October 9,637; November 37,749; December 25,473; 2019 January 23,237; February 9,342; March 7,646; April 8,342; May 6,771; June 6,444; July 6,645; August 6,510; September 4,059.
Number of online reports received: 2019 July 6,179; August 5,080; September 3,620.

    Delivery methods

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

    Chart 2 shows a comparison of the most popular channels scammers used to contact people in September 2019. Of those, reported phone calls or voice messages accounted for 94%, email accounted for 5%, and SMS accounted for 1%.

    Payment methods

    Chart 3: Reported ATO impersonation scammer payment methods, September 2019

    Chart 3 shows the reported total amount paid, method of payment and number of people who paid scammers in September 2019.
14 paid $35,380 into bank accounts
10 paid $22,350 via iTunes
3 paid $8,300 via Google Play
2 paid $4,700 via a gift card
2 paid $10,438 via Western Union
3 paid $1,540 via credit card
3 paid $11,985 via Bitcoin
3 paid $26,300 but did not specify how

    See also:

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

    What we're doing

    We're currently developing Easy readExternal Link content on selected scams information for people who:

    • have cognitive and/or learning disabilities
    • have low levels of literacy, or
    • use English as a second language.

    We’ll keep you posted on the progress of this content.

    We already have information in other languages about identity crime, and tips on how to keep your personal information safe from identity thieves.

    Keep informed on new scam alerts by subscribing to General email updates. These updates include the latest scam alerts.

    See also:

    Next step:

    Last modified: 14 Nov 2019QC 60620