From time to time we receive phone calls from clients informing us that somebody called them claiming that they were from the Australian Taxation Office. The caller proceeds to inform the client that they have committed tax evasion and that a warrant will be issued for their arrest. It is obvious that the caller is not from the ATO and the sole purpose of the call is to scam the client.
As you have guessed these allegations are quite serious. If the ATO was to make such claims they would go through the necessary channels first – in the first instance, providing a request in writing and contacting the registered tax agent.
Please be reassured, that the ATO will never do the following:
- Ring you and make such allegations; and
- Provide you with your tax return/refund via email. In the past we have seen instances of taxpayers receiving zip file attachments from an address that appeared to be from the ATO. If you receive such emails please do not open the attachments and delete the email immediately.
If the caller or email message seems even slightly suspicious, do not provide any information to them and please note down the following details and provide them to us:
- Name of caller or sender;
- Contact phone number; and
- A reference number.
We will be able to contact the ATO through our channels and determine if the call/email is legitimate. If it is, we will provide them with the information that they have requested. If necessary, we will contact you before providing them the information.
Have a look at this article regarding criminals trying to scam others via email.