Are You Being Scammed?

We all get calls from the Australian Taxation Office and we tend to think a call from them is the real thing because honestly, who wants to pretend to be from the Tax Office?

scamThis common belief is being used by scammers to target individuals and small businesses. 

The Australian Taxation Office has released a step-by-step process of what will happen if they do call you:

  1. At the beginning of the call the ATO officer (or representative) will state that they are calling on behalf of the ATO, explain the call may be recorded for coaching purposes, offer the opportunity to stop the call recording, if preferred and offer access to the ATO privacy policy. 
  2. ATO staff use a two-step process to confirm identify using your business name and then a document ID number from relevant correspondence.
  3. If you have any doubts, once the ATO officer has confirmed the taxpayer's identity, the taxpayer can request a confirmation of information held by the ATO to prove they are an authorised representative of the ATO which includes account balances, payment dates and amounts, payment methods or addresses listed on the account.
  4. If you still believe it is a scam, a call can be made to the ATO scam hotline on 1800 008 540 to verify that it is the ATO or an external collection agency.

The ATO has advised that, if there is a telephone number displayed on your caller ID, then it's not a call from the ATO because, whenever a legitimate call is made by an officer of the ATO, the ATO's telephone number is not displayed. If a number is displayed and the caller is claiming to be an ATO officer, it's a scam. 

The ATO will also never demand you transfer money whilst on the phone to them or divulge any more personal information, other than to confirm your identity with the ATO.

Phone spoofing is on the rise in regards to fake debt collection calls where the caller is attempting to get sufficient information to allow them to pretend to be the client and use their documentation in part of identity theft and lodgement of returns pretending to be the taxpayer to ensure they get a refund to which they are not entitled. If you are unsure or require specific advice, please call our team in Ballina or Byron Bay on 02 6686 3000.

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