Taxpayers receive hoax emails purporting to be from the ATO
- 21 April 2015
Some taxpayers have recently received fraudulent or hoax emails purporting to be from the Australian Taxation Office ("ATO").
The various variations of these phishing emails often share a number of the following characteristics;
• The email requests personal information by:
- requesting that the taxpayer completes a form requiring personal information; or
- requesting that the taxpayer verifies their identify by emailing photographs or copies of their personal identification documents.
• The email may appear to be an official ATO email, but will have been sent from an invalid or fraudulent email address rather than "ato.gov.au", such as:
- atogov.com.au; or
• The email may direct the taxpayer to an alternative website;
• The email may not address the taxpayer by name;
• There is often the promise of a large unexpected tax refund but that it is to be paid into a credit card account - which is not usual practice.
The ATO has officially released a warning about these emails which can be accessed here:
Signs that the email may be fraudulent include, but are not limited to;
• poor grammar;
• unusual language, such as; "after the last annual calculations of your fiscal activity...'; or
• the email address is similar to "ato.gov.au" but slightly difference.
If you receive such an email and you click on the link in order to update your details, your anti-virus program should alert you to the fact that the link is to a phishing site. However, if your internet security and protection is not up to date, or you reply directly to the email, there is a real risk of monetary loss, in addition to identity theft.
If you are sent a suspicious email, please forward it directly to your Walker Wayland NSW advisor, who will be able to confirm whether the email is legitimate or fraudulent.