With the Self Preparers deadline of 31 October fast approaching many of us will spend the coming weekend sorting out our taxes. And it is not just getting the figures right that we have to worry about.
Every year the Tax Office warns the community to be aware of fraudsters as they target people lodging their income tax returns by the 31 October deadline.
Statistics reveal that in past years, the number of scams reported to the ATO more than doubled in just one month from 2,465 in September to 6,593 in October, which means that now is the time to beware.
The ATO's Chief Technology Officer stated that: "Scammers are out to get taxpayers hurrying to lodge their return by the deadline." People should be on the look-out for tax scams and report them to us directly."
The Tax Office is also seeing more targeted scams sent to taxpayers where the perpetrators make the email more convincing by using the latest ATO website imagery and the names and signatures of real ATO staff.
"People should also be aware of a nasty phone scam where taxpayers are threatened with arrest if they do not pay a fake tax debt over the phone."
If people believe they have received a telephone, email or SMS scam they should contact the ATO on 1800 060 062 (8.00am–6.00pm, Monday to Friday).
"When the public reports a scam to the ATO we work with our local and international partner agencies to shut down the scam website and pursue the scammers directly," said Mr Heather.
From time-to-time the ATO will send emails, SMS messages or official social media updates advising of new services. The ATO's messages will never request personal or financial information by SMS or email.
To increase community awareness of scams the ATO launched a video campaign on www.ato.gov.au/identitycrime with helpful tips for taxpayer to protect their personal information.
If you think you may have been the target of a scam get in touch with the Tax Office as soon as possible. And, if you would like to free your time up this year you can always contact us by next Tuesday for a lodgement extension past October 31.
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