There’s a new Australian Tax Office scam sweeping Australia, draining victims of their entire bank accounts.
The ATO has issued a warning following a spike in automated scam calls impersonating the tax office, claiming they’ve suspended their target’s tax file number following suspected fraudulent activity.
Assistant Commissioner Trent Jakubowski has condemned the fraudsters saying “while the number of people paying these scammers is low, the large amounts being lost per person is alarming”.
Since the start of 2021, the ATO has received 638 reports of this scam, with 7 victims paying out nearly $118,000.
Young adults between 18-24 have been targeted heavily in the scam, an unusual change in tactics from focusing on the elderly. One victim last week lost $36,000 after transferring scammers their entire bank balance.
“We’re seeing that instead of scammers asking for a specific amount of money, they’re requesting victims transfer every last dollar in their bank account.”
“What’s most malicious, is that in some cases, these scammers are stealing money under the guise of saving it from other fraudsters trying to access their account,” Mr Jakubowski said.
The ATO has warned there are two main scripts the scammers are using;
– Your TFN has been suspended as scammers have your TFN details. You need to transfer all your money to the ATO in order to protect it while we sort it out
– Your TFN has been used illegally and you need to move all the money in your bank account to a holding account pending the outcome of legal action
“This is a reminder for everyone to keep their guard up when answering an unexpected call. While we more often hear stories of older Australians being targeted by scammers, these devastating losses show that anyone can be a target,” Mr Jakubowski said.