Scam Alert – What you need to know.

2018 has already seen a spike in the annual Tax Scams, designed to trick you into paying money. Our team here at Online Tax Return have some helpful tips to ensure you stay safe from tax scams!

Types of scams

Text Message Scam

May has seen a sizeable increase in reports of text message scams claiming that the receiver is eligible to claim a substantial amount of money. The aim of the scam is for the receiver to follow a link or call a number and submit personal details including their tax file number, credit card details or to submit a small fee in order for their “funds” to be released.

Phone Scam- Voicemail

Voicemail scams see the culprits leaving the receiver a voicemail claiming to be from the ATO and threatening arrest due to an unforeseen tax debt or tax evasion. The voicemail demands the receiver calls the number provided to avoid a warrant being issued for their arrest.

Phone Scam

Scammers make a call claiming to be an ATO employee, stating that the receiver is entitled to a tax refund. The receiver is then asked to provide payment details and to confirm their address and are then sent a 6-digit code to confirm the transaction. The caller often seems to have an in-depth knowledge of the ATOs procedures and Tax jargon.

Email Scam

Fake emails sent from what seems to be the ATO asking for the completion of a ‘tax refund review’ or verification for the submission of a return are riddled with malicious links and fake Tax Refund forms. These emails can contain the ATO logo and misleading links that appear to be the ATO website.

It can be easy to miss the indications of scams and this can lead to devastating results for those affected. Follow these handy hints to increase your odds of surviving this season’s prevalent wave of scams.

  • The ATO does not ask for a fee to process or release a tax refund.
  • The ATO will not request information such as your TFN or credit card details via text.
  • The ATO does NOT issue refunds to credit cards and would only ever request these details if you have a tax dept.
  • If you receive a scam email from the ATO keep an eye out for the following
    • Bad grammar or spelling mistakes.
    • Links that do not lead to an address when hovering your mouse over it
    • Is not sent from a legitimate email address
    • Does not contain your name or any other personal details indicating that the email is directed to you.
  • Do not call any numbers that are not listed on the Phone Us page of the ATO website.


If you have any doubts or have fallen victim to a Tax Scam contact the ATO on the Scam Hotline 1800 008 540 or visit

This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice.