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  • Do you know how to spot a scam?

    We continue to see an increase in scams where criminals attempt to steal money or information from individuals by impersonating the ATO. These scams may be by email, SMS or phone call. They can be very convincing and many people are affected each year.

    To avoid becoming a victim, you and your clients should know how to identify an ATO impersonation scam. If you do spot one, it's important to let us know.

    How to spot a scam

    Scam emails, phone calls and SMS may:

    • be unexpected
    • be pushy and intimidating
    • threaten you with an arrest or penalty if you don't pay immediately
    • demand payment by iTunes or Google Play cards, pre-paid Visa cards, cryptocurrency or direct credit to a personal bank account - the ATO will never ask you to pay through these methods
    • ask you for your personal or financial information or to confirm information they pretend to have
    • use poor grammar and spelling and may be missing your name
    • promise you a tax refund in exchange for a payment or your personal information
    • contain an attachment or fake links asking you to lodge a form – opening these attachments or links can download malware or ransomware onto your device.

    How to report a scam

    If someone has contacted you or your client and you are not sure if the communication is genuine, let us know.

    For phone scams you or your client should:

    • hang up immediately
    • phone our dedicated scam reporting line 1800 008 540 between 8.00am and 6.00pm EST, Monday to Friday.

    For email scams you or your client should:

    • not click on any links or open any attachments in the email
    • forward the email to ReportEmailFraud@ato.gov.au and delete it immediately.

    See also:

      Last modified: 01 May 2019QC 49985