The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is urging taxpayers, especially would-be and new business owners, to be vigilant against scam websites that offer to provide tax file numbers (TFN) and Australian business numbers (ABN) for a fee but fail to provide the service.
This comes as there has been a noted increase in fake TFN and ABN services that are often advertised on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
The advertisements offer services where one can obtain TFN or ABN for a fee. But instead of delivering this service, the scammer manages to steal both the money and personal information of their targets.
On the other hand, application for a TFN is free and can be processed quickly and easily when applying through the ATO. The same is true in applying for an ABN through the Australian Business Register (ABR).
ATO Assistant Commissioner Tim Loh said, “Scammers are constantly developing new ways to target the community, and we expect to see more of these malicious attempts to steal identity details in the lead up to tax time.”
In 2021, more than 50,000 people have reported ATO impersonation scams with victims losing a total of more than $800,000.
“We are concerned about a recent increase in the number of victims reporting scams around TFN and ABN applications. We are also still seeing scammers impersonating the ATO, making threats, demanding the payment of fake tax debts or claiming a TFN has been ‘suspended’ due to fraud,” Loh said.
The ATO also reminded that those who apply for a TFN or ABN through a tax agent should always check that the tax agent is registered with the Tax Practitioners Board.
“We are encouraging everyone to be on alert and take the time to remind family and friends to be on the lookout and stay safe online, so you don’t fall victim to a scam this tax time.”