Tax season can be a demanding time for many people and businesses, so it’s not too surprising scammers will often take advantage of this vulnerability to target unsuspecting taxpayers.

It's essential to be aware of tax scams and know how to identify them to protect yourself and your finances. By understanding the common tactics used by scammers, you can avoid falling victim to these fraudulent schemes.

Here are some key tips on how to spot and avoid a tax scam:

1. Be cautious of unsolicited communication

Scammers often initiate contact via phone, email, or text, posing as tax officials or representatives from well-known organisations such as the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) or financial institutions. They may claim that you owe a significant amount of money in taxes or have a refund waiting. Remember that legitimate organisations will never contact you out of the blue and ask for personal or financial information.

2. Verify the source

If you receive a suspicious call or message, don't provide any personal or financial information right away. Instead, look up the official contact details of the organisation they claim to represent and contact them directly to ask about the communication you received.

3. Watch out for high-pressure tactics

Scammers often use intimidation or urgency to push you into making immediate decisions. They may threaten legal action, arrest, or the suspension of services if you don't do as they ask. Take a step back from the situation and remember legitimate organisations will generally give you time to consider your options and certainly won’t threaten you into making hasty decisions.

4. Check for red flags in emails and websites

Scammers may send emails with attachments or links that claim to be important tax documents or official forms. Before opening any attachments or clicking on links, check the email address and hover over any hyperlinks to see if they match the official domain of the organisation or look suspicious. Fake websites may also have subtle differences in the URL or poor design and grammar.

If you’re unsure about the legitimacy of a tax-related communication or suspect it could be a scam, contact a qualified tax professional or the ATO directly. They can guide you on the appropriate steps to take and provide you with peace of mind.

5. Guard your personal and financial information

Never share sensitive information such as your tax file number, banking details, or passwords with anyone unless you have been able to verify their identity and the legitimacy of their requests.

6. Stay informed

Stay up-to-date with the latest scam alerts and warnings issued by government agencies such as Regularly check their official websites for information on the latest scams and tactics being used. By being informed, you can better protect yourself from falling victim to tax scams.

7. Report suspicious activity

If you think that you’ve encountered a tax scam, report it immediately. Contact the ATO or your local police, and make sure to notify your bank or financial institution. Reporting scams is crucial to help take action against scammers and prevent others from being victimised.

Tax scams can have serious financial and personal consequences. By remaining aware of their presence, questioning unsolicited texts, phone calls and emails and by taking the necessary precautions to protect your personal information, you can avoid falling prey to scammers.


Auswide Bank Ltd AFSL and Australian Credit Licence 239686. This information provides general advice only. We do not provide advice based on any consideration of your personal objectives, needs or circumstances.