Australians are at greater risk of being targeted by criminals in the coming months as cybercriminals attempt to scam people out of their money until the end of the tax year or tax related scams.
One in four Australians (24 per cent) have experienced a scam related to EOFY or tax matters according to new research from the Commonwealth Bank (CBA).
However, the bank’s fraud experts warn that scammers don’t necessarily wait until June 30, when people start filing their tax returns, to find their targets.
Only five percent of people experienced EOFY/tax-related scams at tax time, which means people are being targeted in the lead up with fake ads and schemes designed to strip them of their cash.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission organization Scamwatch warns consumers against refund scams in which cybercriminals convince people they are entitled to a refund from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), often through through overpaid or unclaimed taxes.
These scammers ask their victims to pay a small down payment to cover “administrative fees” in order to access the amount “owed” to them.
Victims will often lose more money in the scam than the organization believes it owes them.
Scammers are making more money than ever from this type of fraud, with Australians losing $1,488,331 in March 2023 in 563 scam cases.
The ATO sent out warnings during the 2022 tax season about multiple email and text scams being sent.
These scams often include links to fake web pages designed to look like the ATO website and would often steal your login details to extort the victim’s money.
“The real ATO will never send you an SMS with a link to log in to our online services,” an ATO spokesperson said.
“We will never ask you for your credit card information either.”
According to Ratecity.com.au’s research director, Sally Tindall, there are no limits to who scammers pretend to be.
“Scammers continually evolve to get ahead of their next victim instead of falling behind,” he said.
“People need to always be on their toes when it comes to scams.
“Scammers spend a lot of time thinking about what their next trick might be and who their next victim might be.”
Australians should also be aware of other types of scams as many retailers will offer pre-tax sales and discounts to customers.
Online shopping scams have affected 25 per cent of the Australian population, and the CBA advises that people need to ensure that the merchant they buy from is really who they say they are.
The bank also urges customers to Google retailers and read reviews and comments before buying and beware of extremely low prices and limited payment options.