ATO Warns Taxpayers about Tax-Refund Themed Scam Emails

News.com.au reported on 11th February, 2014 stating that The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) which is tax collecting agency of Australian government, has issued warning about emails offering fake tax refunds to recipients.

The ATO scam email reads: "This is to notify that a recent attempt to refund a payment to your credit card has failed."

The email also highlights the invoice number and the amount to be refunded and the invoice number and the amount of refund varies in each versions of the email.

The status is unpaid.

The fake email reads: Click on the E-Portal to receive the refund manually and during the refund process you have to update the details of your credit card."

To make the email look authentic, it also informs the recipient that this will serve as an official receipt for this refund.

The email purports to be from the 'Australian Taxation Office of Commonwealth of Australia.'

The ATO is well aware of such scam emails and says that it never asks for such information via email. An ATO advisory says "We can only calculate tax refunds based on your information given to us about your financial activity during the year and refund your due amount to your nominated bank account or by sending a cheque. Any email requesting additional information before a refund can be assumed as a hoax.

If you receive a message like this, never click on the link contained in the email under any circumstances. The ATO advise not to open any attachments which come with such emails and should delete these messages immediately from your inbox.

Moreover, it is not the first time that name of ATO has been exploited by cybercriminals in a tax-themed phishing email campaign. Security experts discovered an incident in August 2013 where fake emails purporting to be from ATO informing that the recipient is eligible for a refund of tax and should open an attached .ZIP file containing a Microsoft Word document for more details.

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