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  • March 2019 ATO impersonation scam report

    In the March 2019 ATO impersonation scam report:

    • 7,646 phone scam reports were officially recorded, a decrease of over 1,700 from February.
    • 461 phishing scam emails were reported to
    • $300,929 was reported as being paid to scammers, with Google Play accounting for 34%, followed by bank transfers at 32%. Although Google Play reported the highest amount paid out, bank transfers had the highest average per payment at $8,071. Payments via iTunes decreased significantly by 70%.
    • Clients who provided scammers with their personal identifying information (PII) totalled 52%.

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    Monthly comparison

    Chart 1 shows a comparison between email and phone reports received each month to date in 2018 and 2019.The number of emails reported: 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; January 2019 - 987; February 647; March  672.The number of phone calls reported: 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; January 2019 - 23,237; February 9,342; March  7,646


    Delivery methods

     Chart 2 shows a comparison between the most popular channels scammers used to contact people in March 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 shows the total amount paid, method of payment and number of people who paid scammers in March  2019. 12 paid $96,855 into bank accounts 9 paid $41,160 via iTunes 21 paid $101,002 via Google Play 15 paid $56,633 via a gift card 2 paid $2,200 via a different method


    What we're doing

    We issued a scam alert to notify of a phishing email being sent from a fake myGov email address asking recipients to fill out an application form with their personal information in order to receive a tax refund. The scam alert was promoted via our social media communication platforms and gathered broad media attention across mainstream and online media outlets, actively raising awareness within the broader community.

    Did you happen to see an increase in ATO scam awareness messages when interacting online? We recently ran a five week targeted digital advertising campaign to increase community awareness on common tax related scams and the importance of protecting your personal identifying information.

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      Last modified: 23 May 2019QC 59016