Recently you may have seen on news stories the rampant ATO Scams that are happening across the nation. Unfortunately, it appears that these scams are becoming more frequent and more sophisticated. ATO reports for the month of November 2018 that $830,000 was lost to scammers. Its big business and the scammers are becoming more and more aggressive.
Since Lister Mason is your registered tax agent, all correspondence, both verbal and written will first be addressed to our office. We have a system of identifying persons from the ATO and we also use the ATO call back protocol if we think there may be something suspicious about the caller. We report to the ATO Scam Watch Team any unverified enquiries regarding our clients.
A lot of the scam callers will threaten legal action or even arrest for failure to adhere to the scammers demands. The ATO do not operate in this manner. Even in cases of serious non-compliance, there will be a lot of written and verbal correspondence before any legal action is taken. The only genuine phone calls you may receive from the ATO could be regarding overdue debts or overdue lodgement. Even in these cases, the ATO will have started with us and a representative from our office should have contacted you about it. In short, they shouldn’t be calling you at all.
What to do if you get a call?
We strongly recommend that if you receive any calls purporting to be from the ATO, you hang up, or ask for the caller’s details (Name, Phone Number, ATO Department they represent). A client recently took this approach and the scammer promptly hung up. If they do leave details, please forward those details to us and we will contact the ATO. We have dedicated tax office registered agent hotline with security and identification protocols in place. We will look into the matter for you through these official channels as part of our service to you.
This article appeared in our December 2018 newsletter. Author – Peter Gill