In addition to voicemail and email scams, the ATO has recently reported that scammers are now sending text message scams as well!
There was a spike in reports of scammers sending scam text messages in May 2018, similar to the example below:
Example George (not his real name) received a text message from ‘ATO Refund’ saying there was a tax refund of $275 for him to claim – all he needed to do was click on the website link and log in with his phone number and the PIN number provided in the message.
He was then asked to fill in personal details and provide his Tax File Number (TFN) and credit card number (including the 3 digit code from the back of his card) so his refund could be deposited into his account.
George didn’t have a credit card so he called the ATO to make other arrangements, which is when he was advised that the text message was a scam designed to get his information and potentially steal money from his credit card.
Another variation of this scam asks for a small fee to be paid via personal credit or debit card in order to receive the refund. Within days of paying the small fee those impacted by the scam see sizable deductions made from their bank accounts.
These text message scams often appear to come from the ATO, but the ATO notes they will never send a text message:
– asking for personal information, including TFN or credit card details;
– asking for a person to pay a fee for a tax refund.
Anyone unsure about whether any communication is really from the ATO should call the ATO Scam Hotline on 1800 008 540 or visit ato.gov.au/scams.