Australians told to beware of fake ATO social media accounts

Australians should be wary of social media scammers posing as Australian Taxation Office (ATO) customer service support agents, the government has warned.

Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones said Australians were tricked into giving personal information and money to scammers posing as ATO employees on Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms. rice field.

This scam targets people who submit questions or complaints to the ATO through online public comments.

Using the fake ATO profile, the scammers then contact you directly and offer to resolve the complaint or follow up on the request.

After gaining trust, victims are directed to a direct message or SMS service where they are asked to click a link and provide personal information.

According to Jones, the ATO provides general social media advice, not specific advice, and does not provide links asking anyone to upload personal information.

“Individual tax office employees do not use Facebook profiles to contact anyone,” he said. Said ABC on January 23rd. We do everything through a secure portal and never ask you to click a link to upload your information directly. “

He added that when the ATO provides additional information in response to social media comments, it will do so via messages via the myGov portal.

Epoch Times photo
Australian Treasurer Stephen Jones speaks to the media during a press conference at the Houses of Parliament in Canberra, Australia, 7 November 2022. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)

The ATO and other government agencies are working with social media platforms to remove fake profiles and remove “harmful interactions.”

Jones said “hundreds” of those profiles had been taken down in the morning.

“It’s like a game of whack-a-mole. When you pull some down, new ones go up. So we always have to be in the game about it,” he said. .

However, Jones admitted that scammers, mostly operating offshore, adapt and exploit the first sign of vulnerability very quickly.

“Our aim, through all the policies we have in place across the economy, is to make Australia the last resort and, if necessary, the most disadvantaged country for these international fraud syndicates to operate. ” he said.

In December, the ATO video Remind the public that their account has a blue verification checkmark on their official Facebook page.

“If there is no tick, don’t click,” says ATO Said Following the latest official announcement.

“We will never ask for personal information or send you a link asking for your TFN, myGov login, or bank account details.”

Online job seekers get scammed too

The latest fraud alert comes after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) revealed Australian job seekers will lose more than $8.7 million (US$6 million) to job fraud in 2022 .

According to January 3, 3,194 job scams were reported to ACCC’s Scamwatch over the past year, with many victims lured with quick money promises. statement By agency.

Scammers pretend to be recruiting on behalf of well-known companies or online shopping platforms, or pretend to be well-known recruitment agencies and demand advance payments in exchange for “guaranteed jobs or income.” often, the ACCC said.

“Thousands of young Australians are leaving school, graduating from university, with high hopes for their future careers and will be looking for work in the New Year. Unfortunately, they are being targeted by scammers.” said ACCC Vice Chair Delia Rickard.

“We know young people are particularly vulnerable, with Australians between the ages of 25 and 44 reporting the biggest losses from job fraud.”

The ACCC warns young people to protect their personal information when applying for jobs and to be careful when applying for jobs through social media platforms and messaging services such as WhatsApp, Signal and Telegram.

It also reminded job seekers that they don’t have to make a decision right away if it’s a legitimate job offer, and warned them if they thought the job offer was too good, “You probably are.”

If someone has experienced cybercrime and lost money online, you can report the incident to the police in the following ways. report cyber.

All Australians who encounter an attempt at fraud, whether successful or not, report an incident to ACCC.

Cindy Zhan contributed to this report.

Rebecca Chu

Rebecca Zhu is based in Sydney. She focuses on the national politics of Australia and New Zealand. Any tips? Please contact her at [email protected]