There is a new email scam going around this tax season and it’s a doozy. Recent reports of an email sent from ‘the Australian Tax Office’ (firstname.lastname@example.org) have arisen, claiming that the addressee is entitled to a refund repayment of $874.64 (if they provide their bank details, of course).
How is it happening?
The reason why it’s such a believable scam is that the technology used to generate these emails makes it appear as if it’s from an authentic source. The hackers use a software that changes the name of email addresses to appear like a legitimate email account, which tricks the email server and sends to your inbox instead of ‘Junk’.
Other versions of this scam will involve an email which contains a virus. These emails will ask you to fill out an attached form and return it to the ATO. The attachment usually contains a malicious program that can access your data.
How do you know it’s a scam?
There are a few things to look out for that should give you a hint. Firstly, think about whether you’ve ever received anything from that email address in the past, or whether you normally get correspondence from the ATO to that particular email account. One cluey person wrote an enquiry to the ATO website after she noticed that the email was sent to a personal email address which she doesn’t usually use on tax forms. You should also take a look at the email address of the sender: note that a true ATO email address will never end in ‘@ATO.com.au’, nor will an ATO email fail to address you by name. Similarly, if the email links to a page that resembles the ATO website, be sure to check the web address.
Similarly, it never hurts to use your common sense: are you expecting to be owed a refund for around that amount, or does it seem out-of-the-blue? The best thing to do if you are ever unsure, of course, is to call or email the tax office and enquire. While it may seem like an advantageous opportunity to claim a tax refund that appears to have been ‘accidentally’ sent to you, it could have damaging consequences. Claiming a payment to which you are not entitled can have legal implications, and you could be looking at fraud or theft charges.
How we can help
If you or your business are looking to enter in to a contract soon but you’re unsure of the specifics, contact Streten Masons Lawyers. We offer tailored solutions that help you draw up and interpret corporate or commercial contracts so that you can’t be tricked. Click here: http://smslaw.com.au/commercial-corporate-law/ for more information.