With the Busy Tax Season in full swing, there is a heightened amount of fraudulent activity targeting Australians. This time we are exposed to fake text messages sent by the ‘ATO’ giving people false information about their tax, in particular their refunds.

Below is an example of the text messages these scammers are sending to the public:

George received a text message from ‘ATO Refund’ saying there’s 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 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. 

Another version of this scams asks people to pay a small fee via their personal debit/credit cards in order to receive the refund, which leads to the scammers being able to deduct large sums of money from your accounts within days.

The ATO have identified the main components of these scams which include:

  • Appears to come from the ATO
  • Tell you your eligible for a refund and you need to respond
  • Ask you to pay a fee to receive a refund
  • Contain hyperlinks that lead to fake website or a fake log page
  • Instruct you to click on a link to submit a form with personal information
  • Lead to money being stolen from your credit/debit card account
  • Ask you to call back a number that is not listed on the ATO Phone Us page

The ATO will never send a text message that:

  • Ask for personal information including TFN or credit card details
  • Ask for you to pay a fee for your refund.

If you are unsure if you have received a false text message, contact your accountant at Davidsons or the ATO.

For more information on scams visit the ATO website here.