The ATO has released an Impersonation Scam Report for the month of February 2019. Highlighted are the various ways in which scammers have attempted to contact people, posing as the ATO.
The most common method of contact was by phone calls or messages, accounting for 97% of reported scams over the month. Reports of 9,342 phone scams were officially recorded, decreasing significantly from 13,800 reports in January 2019. Emails accounted for 2% of scamming methods with 327 phishing scam emails being reported to firstname.lastname@example.org. The remaining 1% reported was scam by text message.
According to the ATO, the amount collected by scammers was approximately $256,635, over $240,000 less than January 2019. Payments to these scams by bank transfers significantly increased in February, accounting for 47% overall. Google Play and iTunes combined accounted for 49% of payments, with the remaining 4% listed as “other”. No payments using Bitcoin were reported this month.
Overall, 52% of clients provided scammers with their personal identifying information (PII), down 3% since January 2019.
Although trends are down in the last month, the ATO is working to create better public awareness of these scams. The ATO has launched a new scam warning video across their various social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.