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  • September 2020 ATO impersonation scam report

    In the September 2020 ATO impersonation scam report:

    • 7,648 scam reports were recorded via our dedicated phone line
    • we received 9,358 online scam reports
    • 351 phishing scam emails were reported to
    • $644,474 was reported as being paid to scammers
      • Gift Cards recorded the highest amount paid $209,633
      • Bank transfers netted scammers $193,510
      • iTunes and Google Play earned scammers a combined total of $121,874

    A total of 1,033 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.

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    Monthly comparison

    Chart 1 comparison between email, phone and online reports received each month Number of emails reported: October 1,769; 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. Number of phone calls reported: 
October 828; 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. Number of online reports received: October 750; 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

    Delivery methods

    Chart 2 comparison between the most popular channels scammers used to contact people in September 2020. Of those, reported phone calls or voice messages accounted for 96%, email accounted for 2%, and text message accounted for 2%.

    Payment methods

    Chart 3 shows the total amount paid, method of payment and number of people who paid scammers in July 2020.
21 paid $193,510 via Bank transfer, 6 paid $3,000 via Cardless cash, 26 paid $209,633 via a Gift card, 4 paid $59,882 via Credit card
16 paid $74,784 via iTunes, 12 paid $47,090 via Google Play, 5 paid $20,480 via Bitcoin, 5 paid $36,095 via method not specified.

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

    What we're doing

    We are seeing more and more people being tricked into paying large amounts of money to scammers. They make you believe you have a tax debt which needs to be paid.

    Do your bit to help stop these scammers getting your money and your personal information. Know your tax affairs - for example: Do you know if you owe the ATO money? Do you know if you are up to date with your tax returns? Do you know if your BAS is up to date? Do you know if your personal details are up to date with the ATO?

    If you are unsure about any of these questions you can:

    • log in to ATO online services through myGov to check your individual tax affairs
    • log in to the Business Portal to check your business tax affairs
    • contact your tax or BAS agent
    • contact us using a phone number on our website.

    We will never threaten you with immediate arrest or demand payment through unusual means.

    It's okay to hang up if you are unsure if it’s the ATO calling. If you receive a call, email or SMS and are not sure if it is legitimate, phone our dedicated scam line 1800 008 540 to check.

    We continue to do what we can to stop scammers, but you need to play your part by knowing your own tax affairs and staying vigilant.

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    Next step:

    Last modified: 16 Nov 2020QC 64181