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Fake tax debt scam via WhatsApp

Announcing the latest Scam alert the Australian Taxation Office advises that there has been an increase in scammers using WhatsApp to impersonate the ATO. Their website reports: "Current reports indicate the scam is the latest twist to the fake tax debt scam where scammers issue a pre-recorded voice message to your phone demanding immediate payment of a tax debt and threatening immediate arrest. In addition to requesting payment via unusual methods, the scammers may also ask call recipients to send a photo of their driver’s licence, passport or other identity credential via WhatsApp. This may result in far reaching identity compromise for victims."

The ATO advises they do not have a profile on WhatsApp and will never engage with you on this platform. They further advise:

Never give out any sensitive personal identifying information unless you can independently verify the identity of the person or organisation you are providing it to.

Know your tax affairs - you can log into ATO online services through myGov to check your tax affairs at any time, or you can contact your tax agent or the ATO via an independently sourced number.

Cyber criminals can also use vulnerabilities in apps such as WhatsApp to access your phone or device. The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) is currently advising users of WhatsApp to update your app to apply the latest security updates and set your phone and device/s to auto update.

If you receive an ATO impersonation scam phone call or text message, and have not paid or provided sensitive personal identifying information to the scammer, you can report the scam online.

Scam victims who have paid or provided sensitive personal identifying information to a scammer can call us on 1800 008 540. This number can also be used to verify if an interaction with the ATO is legitimate.

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