Tax time 2018: Hold the phone! It’s a scam

HANG UP: As tax time rolls around, the ATO is warning people to be cautious of scam callers, which are often very aggressive and threatening. Photo: SHUTTERSTOCK.
HANG UP: As tax time rolls around, the ATO is warning people to be cautious of scam callers, which are often very aggressive and threatening. Photo: SHUTTERSTOCK.

The Australian Taxation Office makes thousands of outbound calls to taxpayers each week, but there are key differences between a call from a scammer and a legitimate call from the ATO. 

“Tell-tale signs include a caller threatening you with arrest or jail, aggressive or rude behaviour, or asking you to pay money into strange bank accounts or settle tax debts with things like gift cards or iTunes cards. We would never do this,” ATO assistant commissioner Kath Anderson said. 

If you are concerned, check your myGov account, ask your tax agent, or call the ATO directly on 1800 008 540 to see if the contact is legitimate, and be especially wary if you are asked to make a payment. 

The ATO will not: 

  • be abusive or offensive  
  • threaten you with immediate arrest 
  • ask you to transfer money into an account with a BSB that is not 092009 or 093003 
  • request payment via iTunes gift cards or other prepaid cards 
  • request personal information like your TFN or bank details via email or SMS or social media sites 
  • ask for money up front in order to receive a refund or other payment 
  • direct you to download files from the internet. 

Visit ato.gov.au/scams for more information.