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By Sam Alaaeddin

Almost 1 in 3 Australians fail to spot a tax scam – new research reveals

Can you identify a tax scam?

Well, new research reveals that almost a third of Australians fail to spot tax scams.

CBA report that when multiple tax phishing scams were tested on Australians over the age of 18, only 69% could successfully identify all of them.

Stay Alert For Scams During Tax Season

Interestingly, nine out of ten believed they were confident in their ability to spot a fake SMS or email.

The research also showed that around one in four Australians have been exposed to a tax-related scam.

As millions of people wait for their tax returns over the next few months, scammers will be eager to take advantage of the situation.

SMS phishing scammers often impersonate myGov and the Australian Tax Office (ATO) to “phish” for personal information, including bank card details.

The link within the SMS takes the recipient to a fake website that looks very real, where they're asked to enter their card details, giving scammers access to their money.

According to the National Anti-Scam Centre (NASC), phishing was the top reported scam type, followed by false billing scams and identity theft.

James Roberts, CBA’s General Manager of Group Fraud, said:

“While it’s encouraging to see a majority of Aussies confidently spot scams when tested, it’s concerning that almost a third didn’t correctly spot all of them.

As a nation, we’ve made good progress in reducing the impact of scams, but we all need to stay vigilant and aware of the latest scam trends.

Scammers are opportunistic criminals and will actively campaign to capitalise on tax season.

Everyone should be on the lookout for text messages and emails impersonating myGov and the ATO.

These messages may appear in a thread of legitimate messages from these organisations.

The major red flag for this type of scam is the link, which differs considerably from the official myGov and ATO website addresses.

If you’re unsure, contact the organisation on a verified phone number or via their official website or app.

Otherwise, delete the text.”

The research also found that 84% of Aussies are concerned about someone in their close circle falling victim to a scam, with 42% being particularly worried about parents or grandparents.

Mr Roberts added:

“According to the National Anti-Scam Centre, those aged over 65 recorded the highest losses of any age cohort last year, and our research highlights that many people are particularly concerned about older Australians.

We urge people to talk to their social network and remind them to stop, check, and reject anything suspicious.

If you think you may have fallen victim to a scam, contact your bank immediately."

Tips to stay safe from tax-related scams

  • Stop: Does a call, email or text seem suspicious? Take a moment to think about your next step. Legitimate organisations won’t put you under pressure to act immediately.
  • Check: Ask someone you trust or contact the organisation on a verified number. If you receive a message claiming to be from the ATO, independently verify its legitimacy by contacting the official ATO helpline or visiting their official website. Do not rely on contact details provided by the potential scammer.
  • Reject: If you’re unsure, hang up on the caller, delete the email, and block the phone number.
About Sam Alaaeddin With well over a decade's experience in asset and wealth management, Sam is an Elite Wealth Planner at Metropole and leverages his expertise to help clients achieve their wealth management goals. He holds a bachelor’s degree in law and commerce (Finance) and a Diploma in Financial Planning.
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