The Australian Taxation Office has alerted business owners and employees about a phone scam where individuals, pretending to be from their organisation, ask for bank details so they can process JobKeeper wage subsidy payments.
The ATO has rebuked the scam on its website and social media pages, saying that while the ATO does “use email and SMS to communicate … we’ll never ask you to reply and provide personal information like your Tax File Number (TFN) or bank account number”.
“We’ll also never include a hyperlink directing you to log on to our online services.”
Not sure whether an email or SMS you’ve received from us is genuine? We do use email & SMS to reach you, but we’ll never ask you to reply or link you to our online services. Stay up to date on our current SMS and email activities @ https://t.co/wVawUbPqgx pic.twitter.com/QN9JXkvf6H
— ato.gov.au (@ato_gov_au) May 5, 2020
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The ATO website states that the ATO does not need bank account details of individual employees to process JobKeeper payments.
If they’re eligible, employees “will be paid by their employer and the ATO will reimburse their employer for these payments. ”
The ATO suggests forwarding suspicious emails and texts claiming to be from the ATO to [email protected], and to call 1800 008 540 to verify whether the ATO interaction is genuine.
The warning follows earlier reports from the Australian Securities and Investment Commission about scammers offering to help people withdraw their superannuation early for a fee.
On April 28, ASIC Chair James Shipton wrote for news.com.au that “there is no need to pay anything!”
“It is a free application process, done through the ATO’s website,” he wrote.
“Other scammers are spruiking high-return investment opportunities. Remember: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.