Tax time is here… and so are the scammers

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TALK TO A LEGITIMATE BANKER DURING TAX TIME… GMCU chief risk and compliance officer, Brett Elgar says it’s important to contact your financial institution immediately if you think you’ve been scammed during tax time. Photo: Sharelle Jarvis.

As tax time approaches each year the types of tax scams being used to try and trick us into providing our personal information or making payments to the fraudsters become more and more sophisticated.

Over the months leading up to 30 June 2019, the Australian Taxation Office has published the details of a number of new scam types, including examples of recorded phone messages demanding immediate payment of a tax debt and threatening immediate arrest, instances where the scammers use WhatsApp to impersonate the ATO requesting payment for fake tax debts, and emailing people from a fake myGov email address, asking them to fill out an application to receive a tax refund.

GMCU’s chief risk and compliance officer Brett Elgar, encourages people to make sure they know they are dealing with a legitimate source before providing any personal or banking information.

“One important step that you can take when contacted by an organisation that you are not sure about is to contact them directly via another method,” Mr Elgar said.

“For example, if you receive a call from someone claiming to be from the ATO, ask them for their details, and then call them back via a contact number published directly by the ATO.  If you think you might have inadvertently given your personal or banking details to a scammer – contact your financial institution immediately.”

Another important way to protect against scammers is to stay informed about current scams.  Some useful websites with more information regarding current scams and tips and tools to protect against scams are www.scamwatch.gov.au , www.staysmartonline.gov.au and www.acorn.gov.au

GMCU has branches throughout central Victoria, each with experienced bankers to help locals with their choices, including branches in Shepparton, Mooroopna, Benalla, Echuca, Numurkah, Euroa, Seymour and Kilmore. GMCU Shepparton can be contacted on 5821 9033 and more information can be found at www.gmcu.com.au