Social media scammers posing as ATO workers stealing personal details and money

| 23.01,23. 07:22 AM |

Social media scammers posing as ATO workers stealing personal details and money

A male hand holds a mobile phone viewed from the side.
The federal government has warned Australians to be alert to the ATO social media scam. (Unsplash: Alex Ware)

Australians are being urged to be on guard against an emerging social media scam that involves fraudsters impersonating staff from the Australian Tax Office.

Numerous fake accounts pretending to be ATO workers and using ATO branding have been identified on Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms.

The scam begins with the bogus accounts scanning public comments and conversations on social media where taxpayers ask questions or make a complaint about the ATO.

The phoney account then replies, or sends a direct message, offering to help resolve the taxpayer's complaint or follow up on their question.

Once they've gained the member of the public's trust, the scammer then asks the user to click on a link or provide personal details in an attempt gain access to their private information and money.

A Facebook post from an account posing as the ATO directing company directors to click on a link in the post
The fake ATO profiles attempt to get users to click on links to access their information.(Supplied)

Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Financial Services Stephen Jones has warned all Australians to be on alert.

"Fake tax officer accounts on Twitter and Facebook can be extremely convincing, which is what makes this scam so insidious," he said.

"The Tax Office will never ask for personal information over social media and never send links that ask you to fill out your personal information like your tax file number, myGov log in or bank account details.

"The government is urging people to exercise extreme caution in their social media interactions."

A screenshot of a scammer posing as an ATO worker asking a Twitter user to message them.
A screenshot of a scammer posing as an ATO worker asking a Twitter user to message them. (Supplied)

Mr Jones said the ATO was working with social media platforms and other government agencies to remove the "damaging interactions".

The ATO only operates one official account on Twitter, while Small Businesses Deputy Commissioner Will Day is also on Twitter but does not have the verified tick.

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