Avoid these tax scams
With tax time fast approaching, criminals may attempt to take advantage of the end of the financial year to gain access to individuals’ and businesses’ money and information. In the 2021-22 financial year, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) received over 20,000 reports of scams, and the figures for this year were predicted to be higher. Here are the main types of scams that involve criminals impersonating the ATO.
Tax advice scams
Scammers pose as the ATO on social media and offer help with tax and super questions.
Tax refund scams
Scammers contact you claiming that you’re owed a tax refund, and that they need your personal details and a processing fee to release your funds.
Tax owed scams
Scammers contact you claiming that you have a tax debt, and demand that you pay the debt to avoid being arrested. They may ask you to pay by credit card, money transfer, gift cards, or using a pre-paid debit card.
Tax File Number (TFN) and Australian Business Number (ABN) scams
Fake websites offer to provide TFN and ABNs for a fee, but fail to provide the service. Instead, they steal your money and personal information. The fake TFN and ABN services are often advertised on social media sites. TFN and ABNs are free (however if your tax agent or accountant assists with an ABN application, they may charge a fee for their services).
Tips to avoid tax time fraud
Here are our tips to help keep you, your family and friends safe this tax time.
Tips for email and text scams
If you receive an email or text message claiming to be from the ATO asking for personal or financial information, do not respond.
Think before you click or give out any information. Avoid downloading attachments or clicking links in unsolicited emails or suspicious text messages.
Tips for phone call scams
If you receive an unexpected call from someone claiming to be from the ATO stating that you’re due a refund, threatening you with immediate arrest or stating that you must pay money to receive a tax refund, hang up.
If you receive a call asking for personal or banking information, hang up and call the organisation back using a publicly listed number. For example, NAB’s number is on our website and on the back of NAB cards.
Tips for TFN and ABN scams
It is free, quick and easy to use government services to apply for a TFN, opens in new window through the ATO, or apply for an ABN, opens in new window through the Australian Business Register (ABR). There is no need to go through a third party other than your accountant or tax agent.
Get a second opinion
It’s important to talk to your family about these scams. Tell them to ‘ask out loud’ for a second opinion from a friend or family member if someone contacts them unexpectedly asking for information.
Know the ATO
Remember that the ATO will never:
- send you a link to login to their online service.
- ask you to pay your tax debt into a non-ATO bank account, via pre-paid cards, or with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.
- threaten you with an immediate arrest.
- ask you to pay a fee in order to receive a refund.
- ask you for personal information such as your Tax File Number (TFN) or credit card number via email or SMS.
- ask you to download files from the Internet or open attachments in an unsolicited email.
If you’re concerned or uncertain about the authenticity of a call or message claiming to come from the ATO, hang up and call the ATO on 1800 008 540.
For more information on how to protect yourself online at tax time, visit the ATO website, opens in new window.
How we can help
If you’re a NAB customer and you believe your business or personal accounts have been impacted by fraud or a scam, we’re here to help. Explore the immediate steps you can take to protect yourself and discover when you should get in touch with us to make a report.
IDCARE is Australia and New Zealand's not-for-profit counselling and support service set up to assist Australians impacted by identity theft and cyber-related crimes.
IDCARE can assist NAB customers to navigate through the process when identity details or credentials have been compromised through fraud or scams. IDCARE is a free service for all Australians.
Australian Government | Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC)
The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) brings cyber security capabilities from across the Australian Government together in a single location. It’s the hub for private and public sector collaboration and information sharing to combat cyber security threats. ACSC provides topical, relevant and timely information on how home internet users and small businesses can protect themselves from, and reduce the risk of, cyber security threats such as software vulnerabilities, online scams, malicious activities and risky online behaviours.
Australian Government | ReportCyber
ReportCyber is a secure reporting and referral service for cybercrime and online incidents which may be in breach of Australian law. The ReportCyber website provides a cybercrime reporting mechanism as well as helpful information about cybercrime.
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission | Scamwatch
Scamwatch provides information to consumers and small businesses about how to recognise, avoid and report scams using publications, videos and other online resources.
Australian Government | Office of the eSafety Commissioner
The Office of the eSafety Commissioner provides online safety education for Australian children and young people, a complaints service for young Australians who experience serious cyberbullying, and address illegal online content.
Australian Government | Attorney-General’s Department
The Attorney-General’s Department website provides helpful information and resources about your rights and protections in regards to identity security, freedom of information and cyber security. The Department has developed a range of resources to assist people protect their identity and recover from the effects of identity crime.
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