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  • March 2018 ATO Impersonation scam report

    In the March 2018 ATO Impersonation scam report:

    • 3258 calls were received into the 1800 008 540 scam reporting hotline with 2101 ATO impersonation scam reports officially recorded, an increase from previous months
    • 3850 emails were reported to
    • $37,046 was reported as paid to scammers with bank transfers being the most common payment method – 64% of payments were made using this method
    • 30% of clients provided their personal identifying information to scammers which may result in further identity compromise.

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    Chart 1: Monthly comparison of reported ATO Impersonation scams

    Chart 1 shows a comparison between email and phone reports received each month to date in 2018.   The number of emails reported: January 1461; February 1362; and March 3850.  The number of phone calls reported: January 1358; February 1718; and March 2101.

    Chart 2: Reported ATO impersonation scammer delivery methods

    Chart 2 shows a comparison between the most popular channels scammers used to contact people in March 2018.  Reports show that 64% of scams were received via email and 36% were by phone or voice message.

    Chart 3: ATO Impersonation scammer payment methods

    Chart 3 shows the total amount paid, method of payment and number of people who paid scammers in March 2018.  9 paid $23711 via bank transfers2 paid $1385 via personal credit cards 5 paid $10350 via Bitcoin 4 paid $1600 via iTunes.

    What we're doing

    We anticipate increases in scam activity in the lead up to tax time and often see an influx in email and phone ATO impersonation scams during this time.

    Phishing email scams and phone scams regarding fake tax debts or refunds are the main threat to ATO clients and scammers use these approaches to trick recipients into paying money or divulging personal identifying information which can be used to commit future identity fraud.

    Innovative education and awareness approaches play an important part in our response strategies. To help combat the increase in scam activity and promote scam awareness messaging, we recently launched the Watch out for Scams advertising campaign on social media. This has been successful in providing community education on common tax related scams and ATO impersonation tactics.

    Remember, the scam hotline 1800 008 540 can be used to verify if a phone call, text message or email is really from the ATO.

    Next step:

    See also:

      Last modified: 09 Aug 2018QC 56436