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  • December 2018 ATO impersonation scam report

    In the December 2018 ATO impersonation scam report:

    • 25,473 phone scam reports were officially recorded this month, a decrease of over 12,000 reports from November.
    • 1,625 phishing scam emails were reported to
    • $542,456 was reported as being paid to scammers, over $580,000 less than November. Payments via Google Play, iTunes and Bitcoin continue to account for the majority of losses.
    • Clients who provided scammers with their personal identifying information (PII) totalled 56%.

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    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; May1,349; June 1,268, July 1,135, August 686, September 1,954, October 1,312; November 1,276, December 1,625.  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; November 37,749; December 25,473.

    Delivery methods

    Chart 2 shows a comparison between the most popular channels scammers used to contact people in December 2018. Of those, reported phone calls or voice messages accounted for 96%, email accounted for 1%, and SMS accounted for 3%.

    Payment methods

    Chart 3 shows the total amount paid, method of payment and number of people who paid scammers in December 2018.  7 paid $10,869 into bank accounts, 6 paid $17,941 via credit card, 12 paid $89,630 via bitcoin, 73 paid $126,654 via iTunes, 88 paid $225,553 via Google Play, 22 paid $50,450 via a gift card, 14 paid $21,359 via a different method

    What we're doing

    Intelligence collected throughout December shows an upward trend in scam reporting to the ATO compared to this time last year.

    The recent spike in scam reports is likely attributed to the increase in scam awareness messaging and media attention, including the success of methods scammers are currently using to trick unsuspecting Australians.

    We recently issued the Scammers steal over $800,000 during November media release, drawing attention to scam caller ID spoofing as a preferred scam method and reminding the community to remain alert to scams at all times.

    Remember, we do not project our number onto your caller ID. If there is a number on your caller ID, you can be confident it is not the ATO calling.

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      Last modified: 04 Feb 2019QC 57831