Email purporting to be from the Australian Taxation Office claims that you can receive a tax refund by clicking a link in the message and filling out an online form.
The email is a phishing scam. The message is not from the Australian Taxation Office. The promised refund does not exist. The scam email is designed to trick you into clicking a link and submitting your personal and financial information on a bogus website. Information submitted on the fake website can be harvested by Internet criminals and used to commit credit card fraud and identity theft.
Pending Tax Repayment
We are sending this email to announce that after the last annual calculation of your fiscal activity we have determined that you are eligible to receive a tax return of $230 AUD. Requests for tax refunds are time limited and it is vital you complete your claim as soon as possible.
Claim Online ↣
Refundable Ammount : $230 AUD
Delivery Method : Electronically by Card
You should wait 4 weeks after making an online claim and 6 weeks after making a postal claim before contacting Australian Taxation Office about the payment.
This email claims that you are eligible for a tax refund from the Australian Tax Office (ATO). To claim your unexpected refund, you are instructed to click a link in the message and complete a “Tax refund” form that opens in your web browser.
However, the message is not from the ATO. Instead, the email is a phishing scam designed to steal your personal and financial information. If you click the link in the email, you will be taken to a bogus website that is designed to look very similar to the genuine ATO site. The fake site features the following form:
All of the information supplied on the fake form can be collected by Internet criminals and used to commit credit card fraud and steal your identity.
Phishing scammers have repeatedly used the promise of unexpected tax refunds to trick victims into supplying information. In recent years, very similar scams have targeted people living in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada , South Africa, and India as well as Australia.
Taxpayers should be extremely cautious of any unsolicited email that purports to be from a Government tax office and claims that they can receive a tax refund by supplying personal information on a website. No legitimate tax office is ever likely to contact taxpayers about a refund in this manner. If you receive such an email, do not click on any links in the message or open any attachments that it may carry. Do not reply to the email.
The following video from the Hoax-Slayer YouTube channel provides more information about these tax refund scams:
The ATO has published information about reporting such scam attempts on its website.
Last updated: March 28, 2017
First published: January 12, 2009
By Brett M. Christensen