The most common scam reported to us is where people are told they owe money to the ATO and it must be paid immediately. They can be threatened with arrest or court proceedings. In many cases, the caller can become hostile.
In the last quarter of 2015 there were nearly 10,000 phone scams reported to the ATO with approximately 450 people giving scammers their personal information and around 70 had been tricked into paying money.
When we’re talking about these phone scams, the first thing to remember is while we do make thousands of calls to taxpayers each week, we would never call someone about debt in such a threatening manner.
We would send an SMS or letter to remind you that a payment was due. If we didn’t get a response from this, we would then call you to discuss the letter or a SMS about making a payment.
For more information on how to protect yourself from scams go to ato.gov.au/identitycrime.
If you or someone you know thinks they may have been victim to an ATO phone scam, contact us on 13 28 61.
If you do not speak English well and want to talk to a tax officer, phone the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) on 13 14 50 for help with your call.
For more information on general tax information in up to 25 languages visit: ato.gov.au/otherlanguages.