Home ScamsPhishing Scams ATO ‘Tax Refund Notification’ Phishing Scam Email

ATO ‘Tax Refund Notification’ Phishing Scam Email

by Brett M. Christensen

Phishing Scam

According to this email, which purports to be from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), you are ‘qualified for a refund’ and should therefore click a link to submit a tax refund request. The email includes the ATO logo and – at least at first glance – might appear to be a genuine notification.

However, the email is not from the ATO and the claim that you can click a link to apply for a refund is untrue. In fact, the email is a phishing scam designed to steal your personal and financial information.

If you click the ‘submit a request’ link in the email, you will be taken to a fraudulent webpage that is designed to look like a genuine ATO site. A form on the bogus page asks you to supply a large amount of your personal and financial information (see screenshot in example below). If you fill in and submit the form, criminals can collect the information and use it to commit credit card fraud and identity theft. Since the form also asks for your email address and email password, the criminals can even hijack your email account and send emails posing as you.

Scammers commonly use fake tax refund notifications as a means of tricking people into supplying their personal information. Versions of the scam surface every year and target taxpayers in a number of countries. This Hoax-Slayer YouTube video discusses such scams in more detail:


EXAMPLE:

Australian Taxation Office – 02/27/2016Tax Refund Notification

We have reviewed your tax fiscal payment for previous months and have resolved that you are qualified for a refund of the sum of 937.22 AUD which is your accumulated tax excesses. Please submit a tax refund request and allow us to process it within seven working days.

Access the following link to submit your tax refund:

To submit a request (Click Here)

We appreciate taking the time to learn about our tax refund. It’s one more way Income tax
department can make your tax payment experience better.
Endeavor to fill in your Information correctly, to enable us make refund to your account without any delay.

A refund can be delayed for a variety of reasons:

1. Applying after deadline of notification.

2. Submitting incorrect account information.

Scam Email:
ATO Tax Refund Scam

Scam Website:

ATO Tax Refund scam website


Last updated: February 29, 2016
First published: February 29, 2016
By Brett M. Christensen
About Hoax-Slayer

References
HM Revenue & Customs ‘Unclaimed Refund’ Phishing Scam
IRS Tax Refund Phishing Scam
Canada Revenue Agency Tax Refund Phishing Scam

 

Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

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Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,
Hoax-Slayer