WARNING! ATO phone scams

6 December 2018

We are seeing an increase in sophisticated phone scammers posing as the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) or as a registered tax agent to scare taxpayers into paying funds. These scammers are threatening legal action and arrest if amounts are not paid.

A number of our clients as well as our staff have received phone calls or messages on their voice mail from a person claiming to be from the ATO saying that they will be indicted for fraud or will go to prison if they don’t pay an amount to cover a tax debt. The scammers are using technology to make it look like calls are coming from a legitimate ATO number or accounting firm.  The number may appear on caller ID and be left on messages for a call back.

Although these calls may seem legitimate, please be aware of these scams and be assured that the ATO (or Boyce) will never
·         demand immediate payments
·         threaten you with arrest
·         request payment by unusual means such as Bitcoin or iTunes vouchers

Most of your correspondence with the ATO is directed through Boyce as your tax agent and as such the ATO would contact us with a query and not you directly.

·         If you do receive a suspicious call, please call us to confirm the information or hang up and contact the ATO directly on 1800 008 540 to verify the call
·         If we are calling you as your accountant to discuss tax debts, the call will be from a Boyce team member that you work with. If you are ever unsure if the person you are talking to is from Boyce, please call them back on the office phone number so that you can be sure that you are speaking to the correct person.
·         If you receive a suspicious email or SMS, don’t click on the links, open attachments or respond to the message.
·         Remember, you will likely know if you have an outstanding debt!

We have been in contact with the ATO about these scams and they haven't been able to provide much insight into how the scammers get access to information, however we have been advised by a cyber-security consultant that it could be from a number of sources, such as databases being sold, or information being gathered from phishing scams being on-sold. Follow this link for some more information on the ATO website.

If you are ever concerned that you may be talking to a scammer, please contact your accountant.

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