May 17, 2016
The scammers use letters, emails or telephone calls pretending to represent the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Emails can include links to fake websites which look remarkably genuine. The email attachments or links may also contain malware which corrupts your computer system, or ‘ransomware’ which seeks payment for unlocking access to your computer files.
Typically, the scammers demand payment of fake tax debts, and threaten prosecution or arrest if payment is not made immediately.
Little can be done to stop such scams. The criminals involved are usually based offshore and use techniques which are almost impossible for Australian law enforcement agencies to trace.
As your tax agent, contact from the ATO about your tax affairs should come via our office. In particular, the ATO does not make telephone contact seeking payment of a tax debt without first writing to taxpayers. Please inform us immediately of any direct contact purporting to be from the ATO and we will seek to verify whether it is genuine. Or you can phone the ATO on 1800 008 540.
Under no circumstances should you pay an alleged tax debt without first talking to us.