A rising number of people are being targeted for various sophisticated scams. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) reports that Australians lost over $107 million to scams in 2018. Of those, investment scams topped the list for greatest financial loss at $38 million.
While there are many types of investment and non-investment scams, each scam has one underlying objective – to gain personal information. Victims can be targeted in a variety of ways including, emails, SMS or via telephone calls.
The Australian Government reports the latest scam, is a tax scam. Victim’s receive calls from scammers posing to be from the Australian Tax Office (ATO) or a recorded message. The scammer claims the victim has an outstanding debt and they may be under investigation to be audited; may face criminal charges; or that a warrant will be issued for their arrest. The scammer may also demand a sum of money to be paid in order for the victim to avoid having to go to court or alternatively, offer a refund or grant.
Victims who give information, such as their accounting firm, may also later receive a masked call from the scammers posing to be from that firm. Scammers have also been known to use software to call from what looks like the accounting firms’ phone number.
As the sophistication of scams increase, it’s important to be aware and careful in the interactions you have and the information you provide. If you are ever unsure about a call that you receive, or are concerned that something may not be legitimate, please ensure to independently contact your William Buck Director or team member. We can help you verify or report an ATO impersonation scam. All other scams should be reported to SCAMWatch.
Remember, if it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Here are a few key things to note:
1). The method in which you are contacted is important.
- While William Buck may call you regularly, as your Registered Tax Agent and Trusted Advisor, our dedicated approach means any serious issues would be made with you personally. It’s imperative you only deal with the people you know, and trust.
- There’s no reason for anyone from the ATO to contact you directly.
2). Contact the people you trust
If you do receive one of these calls or suspect any unusual activity, don’t take any action without speaking directly with a familiar person at William Buck.
Don’t volunteer any information or agree to make any payment without first discussing this with your trusted William Buck Director or a team member.
3). Stay aware
Knowledge is the best defence. New scams are occurring each day. SCAMwatch and Moneysmart are some useful Government websites which have further information on each new scam, identifying a scam and reporting unusual activity.
You can also find recent articles on regulations, scams and cyber safety at William Buck’s Blog: