Beware of These ATO and ASIC Scams

We have written before alerting everyone to circulating scams that appear as communications from the ATO and the ASIC. These scams can be highly effective at misleading individuals and will compromise the security of your personal information. We have compiled a list of known scams and how you can protect yourself against them. Don’t forget, these scams are on the rise and are always changing, stay diligent and remain alert to any warnings.

Known ATO Scam Alerts

Here is a list of 2019 Scams the ATO is aware of, though this list may not be exhaustive:

  • August 2019 SMS scam – tax refund notification
  • June 2019 – fake tax debt scam via WhatsApp
  • May 2019 SMS scam – tax refund notification
  • April 2019 phone scam – imitating ATO phone numbers
  • March 2019 email scam – myGov tax refund notification

2019 ATO scams

The most recent scam appears as an SMS in the inbox of your mobile phone. It requests you to click a link and provide personal information, to verify your identity so you can receive a tax refund.


Sample of ATO scam on mobile phone


The ATO has provided this image as an example of what the scam may look like on your mobile phone:

They also have made this statement:

‘The ATO does not have an online ‘Tax Refund’ form or website and we will never send an email or SMS asking you to access online services via a hyperlink.’ 


Another scam that commenced around June 2019 is also appearing as a WhatsApp message from the ATO demanding unusual forms of payment to rectify a tax debt, and threatening arrest if instructions are not followed. We confirm that the ATO will NEVER contact you through WhatsApp. Do not click on links, reply or otherwise engage with this communication if you receive it.

What You Can do

In addition to the above information, one of the best ways to stay up to date is to follow us on LinkedIn for urgent and important updates! Subscribing to our monthly Newsletter will also ensure you receive timely updates when any scams are discovered.

We advise that if you suspect or are unsure about the legitimacy of any communication you receive from the ATO, do not reply to it! You should also contact your accountant if you have any concerns.

Lastly visit Scam Watch to report, get help or find out more on scams that may affect you. Always be cautious of communications from government organisations and other companies which are not expected or do not seem correct!