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It May Not be the ATO Calling!

Article By Adam Hurwood | | Accounting & Tax
In recent weeks, the ATO has issued new warnings regarding phone scams intimidating people into paying fake tax debts. They don’t ask for personal details, they have it. Until you receive a call, you may not realise how convincing they can be.

Most people would like to think they would not be caught out by a scam. We have been warned of various phone, text and email scams over the years that offer unexpected cash refunds to congratulations on being an heir to a rich estate or simply request you to provide personal information.

The latest round of ATO phone scams have been convincing and threatening enough to catch people out.  In these calls the “ATO” may:

– tell you your name, address and tax file number,
– advise that you are being charged for fraudulently preparing recent tax returns and have incurred significant tax liability,
– Transfer you between different “departments”, each confirming the situation, and
– advise that the police will be arriving at your house soon to confiscate records.

At this point, the ability to pay part of the debt is offered. While the details about the debt are relatively generic, it can be believable enough when combined with the demanding and urgent tone of the call.

If you receive a phone call from the “ATO”, we recommend you:

– Do not provide or confirm personal information.
– Confirm the amount of the “debt”.
– Ask for their name, phone number and a reference number.
– Hang up and call our office or the ATO on an advertised phone number to discuss.

The security of our clients’ personal information is important to us. While we can’t stop scammers, we can help protect your information. We have recently upgraded our online client portal to make it more user friendly and provide a secure connection between you and us in the future {Please refer to our Technology Update article for further information}.

We are in the process of contacting clients about activating an account, but if you wish to know more, please contact your Altitude Adviser.