As Tax Time approaches, people should be on the look-out for a rise in tax related scams

 

In the first half of this financial year, the Australian Tax Office (ATO) has witnessed an unprecedented amount of tax-related scams.

Since the beginning of 2017, Australians have forked out $1.5 million to scammers, in addition to unintentionally disclosing confidential details such as tax file numbers, bank details and credit card numbers.

This fraudulent activity is expected to increase in the coming weeks, with clever crooks using the end of the financial year as a means of exploiting those in a state of panic, rushing about gathering their personal documentation in order to lodge their tax returns.

The ATO warns Australians to think carefully before divulging personal details to others, answering phone calls from those claiming to be from ATO, or responding to text messages or emails which require urgent attention, immediate payment, or request a processing fee in order to receive a tax refund. Some scams may even request you to download files from the internet or open up attachments from an unknown source.

If you are uncertain about whether a request for information is legitimate or not, contact the ATO directly on 1800 008 540 or visit the ATO website.

Be sure to talk to other about these scams, especially older people who are much more vulnerable to being taken advantage of.