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The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is warning people about a new scam campaign that uses the cross-platform messaging service, WhatsApp.
In a recent scam alert, the ATO notes:
There has been an increase in scammers using WhatsApp to impersonate the ATO. Current reports indicate the scam is the latest twist to the fake tax debt scam where scammers issue a pre-recorded voice message to your phone demanding immediate payment of a tax debt and threatening immediate arrest. In addition to requesting payment via unusual methods, the scammers may also ask call recipients to send a photo of their driver’s licence, passport or other identity credential via WhatsApp. This may result in far reaching identity compromise for victims.
The ATO does not have a profile on WhatsApp and will never engage with you on this platform.
Some versions, like the current WhatsApp scams, threaten arrest or other dire legal consequences if you do not immediately pay a supposed debt via a credit card or gift cards such as iTunes cards.
Similar scams target taxpayers in many other countries. Be wary of any WhatsApp message, phone call, SMS, or email that purports to be from your country’s tax agency and demands that you immediately pay a supposed debt or supply sensitive personal and financial information. Your tax agency is very unlikely to send you such a message.
If you receive one, do not reply, click any links or attachments, or provide any personal information.