Beware of tax scams offering money

IT’S NOT often you get a message from the tax department offering to send you money.

And it will be a particular surprise when you are aware, as I am, that you owe them money.

So, when acting on the premise that if something looks too good to be true, it usually isn’t true, I took a harder look at an email I received yesterday from a very legitimate looking “ATO” sender telling me I was entitled to a refund and asking for a few personal details.

It turned out to be a scam – common at this time of the year when people are facing the bitter truth of what they’re going to have to fork out to stay in good with the taxman.

The ATO even has a “report a scam” number to call if you think you’ve been targeted by fraudsters. It offers several alternative numbers to press, none relating to scams. And your waiting time will be 45 minutes, after which your phone bill will be about as much as the scammers would have cost you.

Now if the ATO was seeking a payment, it might be a different story.

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