A helpful guide for individuals and businesses to protect themselves

I know we are an eCommerce-focused platform, but I couldn't help myself this year but write a blog about scammers over ATO; they are RIFE!

In 2021, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) received over 50,000 reports of scams, with $800,000 reported lost. Here are three main types of scams that involve criminals impersonating the ATO.


1. Tax refund scams

Scammers contact you claiming that you’re owed a tax refund and that they need your personal details and a processing fee to release your funds.

2. Tax owed scams

Scammers contact you claiming that you have a tax debt, and demand that you pay the debt to avoid being arrested. They may ask you to pay by credit card, money transfer, gift cards, or using a pre-paid debit card.

3. Tax File Number (TFN) and Australian Business Number (ABN) scams

Fake websites offer to provide TFN and ABNs for a fee, but fail to provide the service. Instead, they steal your money and personal information. The fake TFN and ABN services are often advertised on social media sites. TFN and ABNs are free (however if your tax agent or accountant assists with an ABN application, they may charge a fee for their services).


Here are our tips to help keep you, your family and friends safe this tax time.

Tips for email and text scams

If you receive an email or text message claiming to be from the ATO asking for personal or financial information, do not respond. Think before you click or give out any information. Avoid downloading attachments or clicking links in unsolicited emails or suspicious text messages.

Tips for phone call scams

If you receive an unexpected call from someone claiming to be from the ATO stating that you’re due a refund, threatening you with immediate arrest or stating that you must pay money to receive a tax refund, hang up. If you receive a call asking for personal or banking information, hang up and call the organisation back using a publicly listed number. For example, NAB’s number is on our website and on the back of NAB cards.

Tips for Tax File Number (TFN) and Australian Business Number (ABN) scams

It is free, quick and easy to use government services to apply for a TFN through the ATO, or apply for an ABN through the Australian Business Register (ABR). There is no need to go through a third party other than your accountant or tax agent.

Get a second opinion

It’s important to talk to your family about these scams. Tell them to ‘ask out loud’ for a second opinion from a friend or family member if someone contacts them unexpectedly asking for information.


Remember that the ATO will never:

  • Ask you to pay your tax debt into a non-ATO bank account, via pre-paid cards, or with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.

  • Threaten you with an immediate arrest.

  • Ask you to pay a fee in order to receive a refund.

  • Ask you for personal information such as your Tax File Number (TFN) or credit card number via email or SMS.

  • Ask you to download files from the Internet or open attachments in an unsolicited email or SMS

Finally, if you’re concerned or uncertain about the authenticity of a call or message claiming to come from the ATO, hang up and call the ATO on 1800 008 540.

For more information on how to protect yourself online at tax time, visit the ATO website


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