Canberrans urged to be wary of tax time scams

Shane Rattenbury, MLA

Canberrans are being reminded to stay cyber safe when doing transactions online and to be alert to fake tax refunds.

Minister for Consumer Affairs Shane Rattenbury said online scammers often increase their activity around tax time, sometimes impersonating federal agencies like the Australian Tax Office to glean personal information.

“Using the promise of a tax refund, scammers like to trick people into sharing personal information like bank account numbers, passwords and credit card numbers. Unfortunately this is often then used to advance a scam or identity fraud.

“It is important to remember that the Australian Taxation Office will never send an email or SMS asking you to provide login details, personal or financial information, to download a file or open an attachment.

“Anyone offering you an unsolicited tax refund in return for confirming your details or paying a fee online, is likely to be a scammer. The best thing to do is just delete that message or email.

“If people are unsure if a tax related email or phone call is legitimate, they can also contact the Australian Taxation Office on 1800 008 540.

“Scammers can present as very professional, copying logos to impersonate banks and organisations like the Australian Taxation Office.

“However, people are less likely to fall victim to a fake tax refund scam if they know the details of their tax situation such as any debts owed, refunds due and lodgments outstanding.

“The old adage ‘if it sounds too good to be true it probably is’, is also a good one to remember at tax time,” Minister Rattenbury said.

Key tips to stay cyber safe this tax time are:

  • Keep your personal information private and don’t share passwords
  • Don’t open messages which have incorrect names or are not directly addressed to you
  • Avoid doing tax time transactions when you are connected to public wi-fi or insecure networks
  • Don’t share your Tax File Number (TFN) on social media
  • Install security updates onto your online devices.

If you have been affected by an online scam you can report it to Access Canberra on 13 22 81 or Scamwatch at www.scamwatch.gov.au