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Beware the latest online scam


A new online scam has been doing the rounds and this one, coming just after tax time, claims to be from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

False refund claims

An email purporting to be from the ATO, has been landing in a number of Australian’s inboxes. The email says a recent attempt to refund a payment to the credit card you have on file with the ATO has failed and asks that you follow the embedded link to update your details.

There are variations on this, including a follow up email which says, “we have attempted to contact you about a refund”.

Fraudulent scammers

The alleged refund amount is usually around $1000, but the email may cite an odd figure such as $985.67 or $1122.25 to make it seem more realistic.

The email asks you to log into a ‘Client Area’, which links to the ‘Tax Refund E-Portal’ from where you will be asked to enter details such as your credit card number, address, mother’s maiden name, date of birth and other personal details. These details are often fraudulently used by scammers to create passwords or duplicate identities.This is commonly known as phishing.
The Australian Securities & Investment Commission (ASIC), which runs the MoneySmart website , says that a legitimate bank or financial institution will never ask you for your personal details via email or text message.


If you receive a similar email or text message from your bank or a government institution reporting a problem with your account, requesting your details or asking you to click on a link, it may be a scam.
The scam works by collecting your personal data and then using this information to steal money from your account. The more detail they request, such as mother’s maiden name, address and date of birth, the more suspicious you should be.

Warning signs

– Claims or requests from a bank or institution that you don’t do business with

– A link to a website that asks for your personal account information

– Requests for personal details for security and maintenance upgrades or to ‘verify’ your account

– Claims that you are due to receive a refund for a fee you were mistakenly charged for

– An email that doesn’t address you by your full name

– A communication that has spelling errors or grammatical mistakes

– A survey that offers a reward or prize for filling it in

– A URL that you don’t recognise or that looks inappropriate

Get more great information on phishing and online scams at the moneysmart website.

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