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Beware of Bitcoin tax scammers

Priority Level: 
15 March 2018

What’s happened?

The Australian Taxation Office is warning people to beware of scammers impersonating the ATO and demanding Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency as a form of payment for fake tax debts.

The ATO has seen over $50,000 paid in Bitcoin to scammers claiming fake ATO tax debts so far.

Does it affect me?

Anyone can be the target of this scam.

If you have received an unexpected email or threatening phone call that claims to be from the ATO and demands payment via Bitcoin or cryptocurrency, iTunes cards, or pre-paid Visa gift cards, don’t make the payment.

How do I stay safe?

  • Keep your personal information such as your Tax File Number and birth certificate secure and safe. Don’t carry them around in a wallet or handbag or saved on a phone.
  • Be suspicious of any unexpected emails or threatening phone calls that claim to be from the ATO.
  • Check that a payment method is legitimate before making a payment.
  • Don’t overshare on social media and check the privacy settings on your online accounts.

More information

If you think you have been scammed or would like to confirm the legitimacy of an ATO call or email, call the ATO on 1800 008 540.

Go to Stay Smart Online for more information on identity theft and online scams.