Watch out for a tax refund scams this year

The ATO has issued a warning to be on the alert for tax refund scams with scammers contacting people via phone or email.

If you are unsure whether your tax preparer is legitimate, the Australian Tax Practitioners Board can let you know if your tax agent is registered.

As a registered tax agent, Instant Tax Refunds will never ask you to send sensitive information via email.

When it comes to tax file numbers and other sensitive financial information, we make sure that we do this professionally and according to correct legal practices.

This part of the process only happens when you come in to our offices or talk to one of our tax agents on the phone. We have offices in Beenleigh, Maroochydore and Acacia Ridge.

Here’s some details about the Tax Refund scams

Phone scams
You receive a call from a person saying they are from the ATO. They say you have a tax refund and that you need to make a money transfer to pay for the ‘taxes’ to release this refund.

Generally, they will provide a phone number to contact the ‘ATO’ once you have completed the transfer. The scammers sometimes quote personal information such as your address and date of birth. To show authenticity, they may also quote several private contact numbers for you.

Key indicators of this scam are:

•    an unsolicited phone call
•    the caller advises that you have an unclaimed refund
•    you are asked to pay money to a third party to receive the refund
•    the payment must be made through a money transfer, often into a personal bank account.

Email scams

These emails claim to come from the ATO and usually offer a tax refund. Generally, they link to a fake ATO website asking for personal and credit card details or prompt you to open or download a file that will install a virus on your computer.

These emails can differ in appearance and level of sophistication. They generally state that you are eligible for a refund and tell you to click on a link or open an attachment to submit a form in order to receive it.

If you receive a scam email like this, do not attempt to open the attachment or download any files, as these may attempt to install a virus on your computer.

If you receive a suspicious email claiming to be from the ATO, do not click on any links, open attachments or respond to the sender.

Key Indicators that it is a scam include:

•    the email not being personalised
•    poor grammar
•    links in the email – you should never click on a link in an email unless you are sure of the source.

You can confirm the real destination of a link by hovering your mouse over the link or on your phone by holding your finger down on the link. All ATO domains include http://www.ato.gov.au.

So stay safe and be aware so that you don’t fall for one of those scams. If you have any concerns, call us now on 1300 TAX GUY.