How to Protect Yourself Against Tax Scams
As tax time approaches, it’s crucial to be aware of the potential risks associated with tax scams. Criminals often take advantage of this period to target individuals and businesses, aiming to gain access to their money and sensitive information. With the number of reported scams increasing each year, it’s essential to educate ourselves on how to protect against these fraudulent activities. In this blog post, we’ll explore the main types of tax scams and provide valuable tips to safeguard your financial well-being.
Types of Tax Scams:
1. Tax Advice Scams: Scammers impersonate the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) on social media platforms, offering fraudulent assistance with tax and superannuation inquiries.
2. Tax Refund Scams: Scammers contact individuals, claiming they are owed a tax refund. They request personal details and a processing fee to release the funds, ultimately aiming to steal sensitive information.
3. Tax Owed Scams: In this scam, imposters contact victims, alleging they have an outstanding tax debt and use fear tactics such as threatening arrest. They often demand immediate payment via credit card, money transfer, gift cards, or pre-paid debit cards.
4. Tax File Number (TFN) and Australian Business Number (ABN) Scams: Fake websites advertise paid services for TFN and ABN applications, but instead of providing the service, they deceive users and steal their money and personal information. Genuine TFN and ABN applications are free, and services should be obtained through trusted channels such as the ATO or registered tax agents.
Tips to Avoid Tax Time Fraud:
To protect yourself and your loved ones from falling victim to tax scams, here are some essential tips to keep in mind:
1. Email and Text Scams:
– Do not respond to emails or text messages asking for personal or financial information, especially if they claim to be from the ATO.
– Be cautious before clicking on links or downloading attachments from unsolicited or suspicious emails and text messages.
2. Phone Call Scams:
– If someone claiming to be from the ATO calls unexpectedly, stating you’re due a refund or threatening immediate arrest, hang up the call.
– Never provide personal or banking information over the phone. Instead, independently verify the caller’s authenticity by using a publicly listed contact number.
3. TFN and ABN Scams:
– Utilise government services directly to apply for a TFN through the ATO or an ABN via the Australian Business Register. Avoid third-party intermediaries unless they are reputable accountants or tax agents.
4. Seek a Second Opinion:
– Encourage your family and friends to seek a second opinion from trusted individuals if they receive unexpected requests for personal information.
– The simple act of “asking out loud” can help identify potential scams and prevent falling prey to fraudulent schemes.
5. Know the ATO:
– Familiarize yourself with the practices of the ATO to identify potential red flags.
– Remember that the ATO will never ask for personal information or payment through non-ATO bank accounts, prepaid cards, cryptocurrencies, or unsolicited emails.
– In case of doubt or suspicion, hang up and contact the ATO directly using their official phone number.
As tax season approaches, it’s crucial to remain vigilant against tax scams. By familiarizing yourself with common scam techniques and implementing the provided tips, you can protect yourself, your family, and your business from falling victim to fraudulent activities. Remember, the ATO will never contact you through suspicious means or request sensitive information unsolicited. Stay informed, be cautious, and safeguard your financial well-being during tax time and beyond.
For additional information on how to protect yourself against tax scams, please visit the ATO website
Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog post is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as professional tax advice. We make no guarantees about the accuracy, reliability, or suitability of the information. Any reliance you place on it is at your own risk. Consult a qualified tax professional for personalised advice. We are not liable for any losses or damages resulting from the use of this information.