The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has issued a warning to millions of Australians that will be lodging their first tax return this year.
The ATO said it had seen an increase in scams involving fake tax file number (TFN) applications.
“These scams tell people they can help them get a TFN for a fee,” the ATO said.
“But instead of delivering this service, these fraudulent websites steal the person's money and personal information.”
Also read: ATO: 1 in 3 companies paid $0 tax last year
The ATO said the scams were most prevalent on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
“The same goes for Australian business number (ABN) applications – never give out your personal information unless you're sure of who you're dealing with,” the ATO said.
What to do if you have been targeted by a scam
The ATO said if you think a phone call, SMS, voicemail or email claiming to be from the ATO is not genuine, do not reply to it. Instead, you should either:
Scams on the rise
This comes after new data from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Scamwatch revealed Australians lost a staggering $95 million to all types of scams in March, the greatest monthly amount on Scamwatch’s record.
Rising more than 150 per cent from February, the amount lost in March also represents a significant increase of nearly 400 per cent from the $20 million reported the same time last year.
Despite an increase in the amount lost to scams, the number of reports decreased by 10 per cent in March, with 16,446 scams recorded, suggesting scammers were becoming more effective in their tactics, with far fewer attempts.