Beware tax time scammers

Beware tax time scammers

August 2015 | Alistair Carr

WITH THE financial year just ended, there will be a spike in phony Australian Tax Office communications.

Bogus ATO callers may say you have unclaimed money or, have breached tax laws, and will be taken to court or arrested if you do not pay up now.

They want your name, birth date, address and bank details, including PINs and passwords and will, thus, empty or launder moneythrough your account.

 The real ATO will not ask for bank details over the phone.

To get your money, this caller may ask you to buy cash to load the post office’s prepaid Load&Go cards to pay your tax “liability”.

If in doubt, get his name and extension number, hang up and then call the ATO on 13 28 69 and ask for the given extension and name.

Or call the ATO on 1800 060 062 (8.00am–6.00pm, Monday to Friday).

Fake ATO emails, with a possible replica of the ATO logo, ask you to unzip and run the zip file attached to claim the refund ATO owed.

This installs Downloader.Upatre on your computer. The file then goes to its Web or FTP site to install nasty malware on your computer to steal personal info, send out its malicious file and email you scam advertising.

Another version, Infostealer.Dyre, checks your Web browser’s URL (web address) for online banking services and intercepts your traffic with these sites to steal your user name and password for your accounts entered into their login forms.

Even when you have up-todate antivirus and security programs to remove these opened files, delete them unopened. Then empty your email trash or recycle bins.

For emails with a link to a bogus ATO website that requests your personal and banking details, do the same, and avoid clicking the link.

Another common scam is someone calling or emailing you about detected problems on your computer, or a deceased estate owing you lots of money, The caller wants your name, address and bank details. Hang up. Delete the email.

NOTE: Your bank will NOT refund lost money if you have given scammers access.