ATO Tax Refund Scam
Home ScamsPhishing Scams Australian Tax Refund Scam Email

Australian Tax Refund Scam Email

by Brett M. Christensen

Outline:
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.


Brief Analysis:
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.

Example:
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.

ATO Tax Refund Scam



Detailed Analysis:
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:

Bogus ATO Tax Refund 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
About Hoax-Slayer

References
ATO – Verify or report a scam
HM Revenue & Customs Tax Refund Phishing Scam
IRS Tax Refund Phishing Scam
Department of Finance 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

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,
Hoax-Slayer