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Tax Scams: How To Spot Them And How To Deal With Them

5 min read
Tax season can be stressful for many people – and this stress can make you more vulnerable to scammers, who strike at the end of the tax year, hoping to gain an advantage at your expense.
 
There are unfortunately many different ways that scam artists can trick both individuals and small businesses from parting with their hard-earned money at the end of the financial year. So it literally pays to be aware of the most common tricks, as well as some of the new and creative ways these criminals will try to get a foot in the door.
 
Here are some of the most common methods in play right now:
 
Telephone scams
 
One scam that is currently occurring quite frequently involves the scammer initiating a three-way conversation with the victim and one other scammer, who pretends to be the victim’s tax agent. It’s also popular for scammers to pretend that they are an official from the ATO, and to try to get the victim to divulge personal information.
 
Text message scams
 
Another scam involves a text message supposedly from 'ATO refund' offering a tax refund to the recipient. If you click on the link, you’ll be asked for your personal details, Tax File Number (TFN) and credit card number, including the three digit security code on the back. Supposedly, this is so the refund can be deposited in your account but, in reality, it's so that the scammer can steal money from your credit card.
 
A slight variation on the same scheme involves the scammer asking for a small fee to be paid via your credit card in order to access your refund. Shortly after paying, much larger deductions will be charged to your card.
 
Email scams
 
Phishing scams, in which fake emails are sent out that appear to be from the ATO are also popular and these often feature a subject line that includes the words “tax refund”. These can include a link to a fake website that asks you to enter all of your confidential personal information such as your Tax File Number, bank account details, date of birth, home address and employment information. Or, alternatively, the email may contain a link that unleashes a virus on your computer.
 
Be aware – and take action
 
All calls, messages and emails of this kind should be treated with extreme caution. The ATO, Centrelink, banks and financial institutions will never contact you to request verification of personal details for any reason, including tax returns.
 
Do not click on any link in the message or email, or call a phone number provided by the email.
If you are unsure about the authenticity of a phone call, text message or email, hang up the call, ignore the message, and contact the official company communication line to verify.
 
Unfortunately, the clever methods of these scammers are often successful, with nearly $190,000 paid to scammers last financial year (according to the ATO) and over 1600 people handed over their personal or financial information.
 
If you have provided a scammer with funds or provided personal details, immediately notify the relevant institution – your bank, the ATO or police authorities about your compromised personal details to receive prompt and relevant advice.

How to identify an official correspondence from H&R Block
All official H&R Block correspondence will come from the below email domains & SMS numbers – these may change over time so if you receive something from a different domain or number, please contact us immediately to verify its authenticity.
 
Email domains used by H&R Block:
  • @hrblock.com.au
  • @e.hrblock.com.au
  • @feedback.hrblock.com.au
SMS numbers used by H&R Block:
  • +61488884960
  • +61418840223 

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