Scams are on the Rise

by | Jul 3, 2024

Protect Your Information

The ATO has seen an increase in scams targeting individuals’ personally identifiable information (PII).
In 2022, a person’s birthdate was the most common piece of PII divulged to scammers. Nowadays, scammers are getting their hands on far more valuable information.

Last year, the ATO saw an increase in reports of scams targeting people’s PII, including myGov sign-in credentials – the doorway to their ATO accounts and financial information. PII forms pieces of a scammer’s puzzle that, when completed, gives them a detailed picture of a person’s identity. Scammers can then use this information to steal the person’s identity and commit crimes in their name, such as tax fraud.

Here are some key points to remember to stay safe:

Stop – Don’t share any PII unless you trust the person you’re communicating with and they have a legitimate need for your details.
Think – Always consider if a message or call could be fake. Never click on hyperlinks to an online login portal from an unexpected source.
Protect – If you notice any suspicious activity on your ATO accounts, contact the ATO immediately.

Use these steps to stay vigilant and protect your information. These may seem like simple steps, but following them could prevent a scammer from putting your identity together.

Remember, The ATO and myGov won’t send you an SMS or email with a link to access online services.

If you do encounter a scammer, don’t engage. Report it via ReportScams@ato.gov.au or use the online form at ato.gov.au/scams.

myGov Email & SMS Impersonation Scams

The ATO and Services Australia are warning the community to stay vigilant as they continue to receive a high number of phishing scam reports that impersonate government agencies.

In February, ATO-branded emails containing links to fake myGov websites were the most commonly reported scam by the community, and approximately 75% of all email scams reported to the ATO over the past 6 months have linked to a fake myGov sign-in page.

Scammers use fake myGov websites to steal your sign-in credentials and gain access to your myGov account. Once the scammer has access, they can make fraudulent lodgments in your name, and also change bank details so that any payments are redirected to a scammer’s account.

Scammers use different phrases to trick people into opening these links. Some examples are:

  • “You are due to receive an ATO Direct refund.”
  • “You have a new message in your myGov inbox – click here to view.”
  • “You need to update your details to allow your Tax return to be processed.”
  • “We need to verify your incoming tax deposit.”
  • “ATO Refund failed due to incorrect BSB/Account number.”
  • “Your income statement is ready; click on the link to view.”

The following images are examples of the format this scam can take:

Staying informed about various scam threats and implementing security steps day-to day will help you stay vigilant and maintain your personal identity security. To learn more about current scams, visit scamwatch.gov.au and ato.gov.au/online-services/scams-cyber-safety-and-identity-protection/scam-alerts.

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