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The ATO has noticed an alarming new trend in scam activity involving scammers impersonating TAX and BAS agents. This new scam is effective because clients are trusting of their representatives, so you need to encourage your clients to take care.
In a twist on the ‘fake tax debt’ scam, ATO have received increasing reports of a new scam method where scammers impersonate registered agents to lend legitimacy to their phone call.
The fraudsters do this by:
- coercing the victim into revealing their agent's name
- initiating a three-way phone conversation between the scammer, the victim, and another scammer impersonating the victim's registered agent or someone from the agent's practice.
Victims have fallen for this new approach. In one recent example, a victim withdrew thousands of dollars in cash and deposited it into a Bitcoin ATM, fearing police had a warrant out for their arrest. The phone conversation with the scammers appeared legitimate, and the victim trusted the advice of the scammer ‘tax agent’.
What You Can Do
Protect your information. Your BAS agent or Tax agent will never:
- demand immediate payments of the ATO debt
- threaten you with arrest
- request payment by unusual means such as iTunes vouchers, store gift cards or Bitcoin cryptocurrency.
If you are suspicious about a phone call from someone claiming to be the ATO, the ATO recommends you disconnect and call 1800 008 540 to verify the call.
Alternatively, you can hang up the call and contact your BAS or Tax agent directly to confirm the status of your tax affairs.
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