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Is it a scam?

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Most common tax scam story: You get a phone call. The caller says they’re from the ATO. They want you to pay a debt (which you know nothing about), or are asking for your personal details.

But it doesn’t seem quite right. Maybe the caller:

  • is aggressive,
  • threatens that if you don’t pay you will be arrested and sent to jail, or
  • tries to make you call another number outside normal business hours.

Or maybe you have received an email or SMS offering you a tax refund or asking for personal details, but it just smells wrong.

What to do if you think it is a scam?

You need to check it out.

If you get a phone call, ask the caller for:

  • their full name and extension number,
  • their team leader’s full name and extension number.

You can call 1800 008 540 to verify that the caller is from the ATO.

If you receive an email or SMS, do not open any attachments or hyperlinks. You can report the email by forwarding the whole email to us at Report email fraud. You should then delete the email or SMS. You can call 1800 008 540 to report the email or SMS.

Note: This article was published by the Australian Tax Office on 2 June 2016.

Also read Protect your finances online | Avoid cybercrime

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