Unfortunately, scammers pretending to be from the ATO and demanding money or threatening that they have a warrant for your arrest and are going to send you to jail are still very active. According to a recent report, 40,500 of these ATO scams occurred between January to May in this year alone – netting the scammers $1.2M! Peta Grenfell even had a threatening message from the ‘ATO’ on her answering machine at home the other day. So what should you do if you receive one of these calls or emails?
If you have a tax debt with the ATO, chances are you’d know about it. In most cases, the ATO will call our office to advise us and give the opportunity to set up a payment arrangement on your behalf. While the ATO is increasingly contacting taxpayers directly, if they did happen to contact you about an outstanding debt then they certainly wouldn’t be aggressive, threatening or rude.
Phone calls aren't only one way this scam is targeting people. You may also receive an email or SMS alleging a tax debt. If you do receive one of these, please DO NOT click on any of the links or open any attachments – this might infect your computer or phone with a virus or malware.
The ATO has released an updated article on this – click here to read their recommendations.
If you do happen to receive any of these calls, emails or texts, and you’re not sure of their validity, please contact our office and we can verify the details for you.