ATO warning on scammers impersonating tax agents

The ATO has warned taxpayers to be aware of a phone scam intimidating people into paying fake tax debts. It is a new approach where the scammers impersonate as registered tax agents.

Recent reports to the ATO have identified scammers using this new method where they coerce the victim into revealing their agent’s name or initiate a three-way conversation between the scammer, the victim and another scammer impersonating as the victim’s registered agent. In a recent case, a victim withdrew thousands of dollars in cash and deposited it into a Bitcoin ATM, fearing police had a warrant out for his arrest.

The ATO has asked tax agents to categorically inform their clients that they will never demand immediate payments, threaten them with arrest or request payment by unusual means such as iTunes vouchers, store gift cards or Bitcoin cryptocurrency. The ATO has informed taxpayers that they can verify suspicious phone calls at 1800-008-540.

Source: ATO website, 24 September 2018.

Jane Hextell