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Australian Tax Office Warns Citizens of Phishing E-mail

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) has released a warning to watch out for a fraudulent, phishing e-mail circulating on the Web.

Talking about an alleged tax refund, the e-mail message says that after re-evaluating the expenditure activity of the recipient, the ATO has found he is entitled to get a tax reimbursement. The refund amount is 19% deduction in the user's 2009 tax payment. The fake e-mail displays the official logo of ATO to appear real to the recipient.

Cautioning citizens about the current phishing scam, Virginia Judge, Fair Trading Minister of New South Wales, said that it was designed to trick the e-mail recipients into giving away their personal information so that the scammers could rob them subsequently, as reported by News.com on January 21, 2010.

Judge further said that financial institutions like banks wouldn't send e-mail to any user requesting for their private details. Thus, if anyone got such an e-mail, it meant that scammers had targeted him, she stated.

She further stated that the best defense against the scams was to remain alert. People shouldn't reveal their personal information, she reminded.

If anyone got the scam message and responded back with his credit card number, account information or tax file identification, he should contact the ATO and his bank and examine the statement, the Minister suggested.

Citing the ATO scam as an example, security researchers stated that scams were steadily evolving and adopting new appearances. Scammers were continuously creating new malicious schemes, which exploited people's temperament. Thus, they were launching such phishing campaigns using lures like tax refunds, which were sure to deceive the e-mail recipients.

However, the ATO gave some suggestions, which taxpayers could use to identify a scam. These e-mails contained poor worded text stuffed with grammatical and spelling errors. Moreover, the messages arriving from an ID that wasn't a confirmed ATO e-mail address.

The Tax Office also advised taxpayers who got doubtful messages to get in touch with the ATO directly and to send those e-mails to it. This would help the office to conduct investigations and track the senders of spurious e-mails.

Related article: Australian Blogger Uses Spam To Boost Blog

» SPAMfighter News - 1/29/2010

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