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When Townsville tax agent Kathy Neville received an out-of-hours call from a confused elderly client, she knew something was amiss.

Key points:

  • The ATO has received more than 4,600 scam reports in the past two months
  • Assistant Commissioner Tim Loh says scammers are becoming more sophisticated
  • Fraudsters use social media, texts, emails and phone calls to pose as the ATO

The woman had disposed of her old mobile phone at a recycling facility but had forgotten to do a factory reset and had received an alert that her tax return had been amended.

“She doesn’t use the internet but she does use her phone to get onto myGov,” Ms Neville said.

Scammers had accessed the woman’s account and fraudulently claimed thousands of dollars from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

“I went into her bank account details on the portal and it wasn’t her bank account anymore,” Ms Neville said.

“I deleted the details, rang the tax office, and told them to stop processing.

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