Bitcoin

ATO flags bitcoin scam as tax deadline nears

A cryptocurrency scam has been identified by the Tax Office as the most common method of exploitation of taxpayers as it announces an impending deadline.

The ATO said payments through bitcoin ATMs have now overtaken iTunes vouchers as the most common method of scam payment.

With the 21 November deadline looming for taxpayers needing to make a payment to the ATO, assistant commissioner Kath Anderson said November is a prime time for scammers as they know lots of people have tax bills to pay.

“Our advice is simple – the ATO will never ask you to make a payment into an ATM or via gift or pre-paid cards such as iTunes and Visa cards, or direct credit to be paid to a personal bank account,” Ms Anderson said.

Since 1 July, the ATO has reported more than 28,000 scam attempts, with taxpayers paying almost $1 million to scammers.

Ms Anderson said the ATO has seen almost 6,000 taxpayers give away their personal or financial information to scammers through things like phishing scams since 1 July.

Further, she was also concerned about the number of taxpayers sharing their personal information with scammers.

“That’s just not how we do business. We understand that it can sometimes be difficult to pay tax bills on time, so we urge anyone who is worried about paying to contact us as soon as possible as there are a range of ways we can help,” Ms Anderson said.

According to the ATO, the top five signs a taxpayer is in contact with a scammer are:

  • Scammers are often aggressive or abusive;
  • They will often threaten you with immediate arrest;
  • They request payment via unusual methods such as iTunes gift cards or other prepaid cards;
  • They request personal security information such as your tax file number (TFN) or bank details via email or SMS or social media sites; and
  • They ask for money in order to process a refund or other payment.

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