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ATO myGov tax refund scam email warning: SSO Alert Priority High

Priority Level: 
6 August 2014

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has posted another reminder to Australians to be wary of scams, including an example of a recent ‘tax refund’ scam email that features the Australian Government, myGov and ATO logos.

It follows a warning from the ATO last month about a variety of possible tax scams that could be expected at this time of year, including phone calls impersonating an ATO representative.

An example of the tax refund scam email, as provided by the ATO, is below:

Sample fake ATO email including MyGov banner, ATO logo and incorrect sender address

Image credit: ATO

The email advises that you are eligible for a tax refund, and to claim your refund you should click a link.

As we regularly point out, such links can lead to webpages designed to fool you into entering your banking details or other financial or personal information, or they could host malicious software (malware), or both.

Other clues that give away this email as a scam include an incorrect sender address, poor use of English, inappropriate requests, a failure to address you by name and the promise of money.

The ATO is extremely clear about how it will communicate with you. It states it will never send you emails or SMS messages asking for this kind of information.

The ATO also states that any message requesting more information before a refund can be released is a hoax.

If you receive a tax related scam message you can forward it to reportemailfraud [at] ato.gov.au and then delete it from your system.

Staying safe

Be suspicious of any messages you receive from unknown and untrusted sources.

If a message is ‘out of character’ for the sender, you should also treat it with suspicion.

Do not click on links or open attachments in a message unless you are completely confident about its content.

You can always navigate to the original website or source yourself, without using links in the message, and cross check its information.

It is also important that your software and systems are up to date, and that you have automatic updates enabled.

More information

The ATO’s warning was posted to Facebook.

The ATO also offers more information via its online security page.

Stay Smart Online offers advice about setting and using security software.

Stay Smart Online has more information about spam and email scams.

The information provided here is of a general nature. Everyone's circumstances are different. If you require specific advice you should contact your local technical support provider.


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This information has been prepared by Enex TestLab for the Department of Communications ('the Department'). It was accurate and up to date at the time of publishing.

This information is general information only and is intended for use by private individuals and small to medium sized businesses. If you are concerned about a specific cyber security issue you should seek professional advice.

The Commonwealth, Enex TestLab, and all other persons associated with this advisory accept no liability for any damage, loss or expense incurred as a result of the provision of this information, whether by way of negligence or otherwise.

Nothing in this information (including the listing of a person or organisation or links to other web sites) should be taken as an endorsement of a particular product or service.

Please note that third party views or recommendations included in this information do not reflect the views of the Commonwealth, or indicate its commitment to a particular course of action. The Commonwealth also cannot verify the accuracy of any third party material included in this information.