We have been made aware of a new scam that appears to be targeting SMSF Trustees.
In this instance, a caller purporting to be from the ATO made contact with an SMSF Trustee advising them that they had been underpaid by the ATO and were owed an additional $180.00. To receive this refund, they needed to confirm their bank account details.
In a matter of days, the Trustees noticed that $18,000.00 had been deposited into their SMSF’s bank account, and they contacted the scammer on the number provided to report this overpayment. The scammer provided details for the Trustees to transfer the $18,000.00 back to them and the Trustees obliged. The scammer then contact the bank and have the original $18,000.00 deposit reversed, essentially leaving the Trustees $18,000.00 out of pocket.
Although it is not unheard of for the ATO to contact taxpayers directly, it is unusual for them to do so where a taxpayer has engaged a Tax Agent to act as an intermediary on their behalf.
So if you are contacted by anyone purporting to be from the ATO, please:
- Ask them for details such as their full name, department, employer ID and contact details, as well as a reference number for the call;
- Let them know that you will be contacting your Tax Agent to verify the validity of the claim; and last but not least…
- End the call.
The ATO are not in the practice of demanding bank account details over the phone, nor will they issue penalties such as fines or arrest warrants if you do not comply with their request during an initial interaction such as a phone call.
We ask all of our clients to contact us so that we may contact the ATO directly as your Tax Agent to confirm the validity of the communication before you give out any details.
If you or someone you know has paid or provided sensitive personal identifying information to a scammer, please call the ATO on 1800 008 540 to report. If you have made a payment to an ATO impersonation scammer, make an official report to your local police. If you have given your credit card or bank details to someone who shouldn’t have them, contact your bank or financial institution. If you have paid money into a scammer bank account contact that bank and lodge a fraud report.
Please remain vigilant when receiving calls from any external service provider – there are variations of this scam doing the rounds with callers purporting to be from NBN Co and other technology providers.