This is the time of year when Australian income tax refunds are paid, so we are not surprised to see another in what seems to be an endless stream of fake "ATO" spam.
If there's one thing that online scammers are relatively good at, it is being topical.
This is the time of year when Australian income tax refunds are paid, so we are not surprised to see another in what seems to be an endless stream of "ATO" spam campaigns.
The version we saw today has the subject line "ATO Tax refund" and purportedly comes from firstname.lastname@example.org.
The text of the message was:
Tax Return Notification
I am sending this e-mail to announce you: After the last annual calculation of your fiscal activity we have determined the you are eligible to receive a tax refund of : 324.29 AUD
In order for us to return the excess payment, you need to send a request to Australian Taxation Office after which the fund will be credited to your specified bank account.
Please click "Get Started" below to claime your refund:
We are here to ensure the correct tax is paid at the right time, whether this relates to payment of taxes received by the department or entitlement to benefits paid.
That 'Get Started" link points to a server that has nothing to do with the ATO, and most recipients would know that Australian tax refunds are paid automatically.
As the ATO warns, "We can only calculate tax refunds after you have reported information to us about your financial activity for the year. Based on that information we automatically pay any refund due into your nominated bank account or send you a cheque. Any email that requests additional information before a refund can be released is a hoax."
So don't be fooled, and warn your staff so they aren't either.
You can find other examples of fake ATO emails at the ACCC's Scamwatch site.