SCAMwatch is warning Australians to be on the lookout for an email purporting to be from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) trying to trick consumers into providing their private details.
The ATO has received numerous complaints about an email, which usually includes the words ‘Tax refund’ in the subject heading and the following text:
'General information about e-tax, including the demonstration, benefits of using e-tax, computer and eligibility requirements, and security.'
There may be other variations to the subject and text. To see other variations of this phishing scams, visit the ATO website.
These emails go to great lengths to convince recipients that it is genuine—they even contain a replica of the ATO’s logo and a link to what appears to be the ATO website.
Consumers are asked to provide details such as their name, email details, date of birth, address and banking details in order to search for any tax refunds. The email may also direct consumers to a bogus Taxation Office website and asks for personal information and credit card details.
If you receive this type of email, SCAMwatch advises you NOT to click on any links provided and to delete the email immediately.
If you have provided personal or bank details via this link, contact your financial institution immediately.
SCAMwatch stresses that the ATO, Centrelink, banks and financial institutions will never send emails requesting verification of personal details for any reason, including tax returns.
To see an example of the fake website and email, refer to the example section below.
Example 1: Fake email
Example 2: After clicking onto the link provided in the email, the fake website appears
Refer to the ATO’s website and the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy’s Stay Smart Online website to see other recent examples of phishing scams.
- Never send your personal, credit card or banking details in an email or over the phone—scammers will use your details to commit identity fraud or steal your money.
- If you receive unsolicited emails claiming to be from the ATO, Centrelink or your bank—delete them immediately!
- If you are unsure whether you have received a legitimate request, call the organisation by using contact details from legitimate sources. Don’t rely on contact details provided to you in an email or through the phone. Instead, obtain contact details through an internet search, telephone directories or official letters/statements from organisations like banks.
- Don't open any attachments or click on any links in, or reply to, these emails. This may result in downloading malicious viruses on your computer.
To report this scam, email the ATO at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 13 28 61.
You can also report this matter on the report a scam page on the SCAMwatch website.
For more information on this scam or collecting a tax return, visit the ATO website.