Since June, there has been an increase in scammers using WhatsApp to impersonate the ATO.
“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,” explained the ATO.
“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.”
The ATO said it does not have a profile on WhatsApp and would never use the platform to contact anyone, urging people to never give out sensitive information unless the identity of the person or organisation can be independently verified.
Another scam earlier reported by the ATO has also been reported again, with victims sent a text message asking them to click a link and provide personal information in order to receive a tax refund.
“To make the text appear real scammers use technology that makes their message appear in your legitimate ATO message feed,” explained the ATO.
Clicking the link will redirect the victim to a fake “tax refund” form, which has been designed to harvest personal information.
“The ATO does not have an online ‘tax refund’ form and we will never send an email or SMS asking you to access online services via a hyperlink,” ATO explained.
Those who have received an ATO impersonation scam phone call or text message and have not paid or provided sensitive information to the scammer can report the scam online.
For victims who think they have paid or provided sensitive information to a scammer, the ATO urges them to contact 1800 008 540.
All online management of tax affairs should be carried out in ATO online services accessed via your genuine myGov account.
Cyber security company Norton added people filing tax returns online should be mindful of the internet connection they use.
“One of the best ways you can protect yourself is to make sure your internet connection is secure and not a publicly available network. If you are not sure about the security of your internet connection use a VPN,” it explained.