ATO Warning Of Scams

Fake TFN/ABN application of scams

The ATO has just recently reported an increase in fake websites offering to provide tax file numbers (TFNs) and Australian Business Numbers (ABNs) for a fee, but then failing to provide the service – leaving taxpayers out of pocket.

The fake TFN and ABN services are typically advertised on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

The advertisements offer to obtain your TFN or ABN for a fee. Instead of delivering this service, the scammer uses these fraudulent websites to steal both money and personal information.

It is free, quick and easy to use government services to apply for a TFN ( through the ATO, or apply for an ABN (  through the Australian Business Register (ABR).

In 2021, more than 50,000 people reported ATO impersonation scams with victims losing a total of more than $800,000.

Tax refund scams

Recently, the ATO is concerning about high volume of tax refund SMS scams.

These scams tell you that you’re owed an income tax repayment and ask you to click a hyperlink and complete a form.

Clicking the link takes you to a fake ATO webpage that asks for your personal identifying information, including your credit card details.

The image below shows one example of what this scam can look like.

Tips to protect yourself from scammers

  • Know your tax affairs.

You will be notified about your tax debt before it is due. Check if you have a legitimate debt owed by logging into your myGov account via an independent search or by calling your tax agent if you have one (on a number sourced independently).

  • Guard your personal and financial information.

Be careful when clicking on links, downloading files or opening attachments. Only give your personal information to people you trust and don’t share it on social media.

  • If you are unsure, don’t engage.

If a call, SMS or email leaves you wondering if it is genuine, don’t reply. Instead, you should phone ATO’s dedicated scam line at 1800 008 540 to check if the communication is legitimate. You can also verify or report a scam online at You can also visit ScamWatchExternal Link to get information about scams (not just tax scams).

  • Know legitimate ways to make payments.

Scammers may use threatening tactics to trick their victims into paying fake debts via unusual methods. For example, they might demand pre-paid gift cards or transfers to non-ATO bank accounts. To check that a payment method is legitimate, visit

  • Talk to your family and friends about scams

If you or someone you know has fallen victim to a tax-related scam, call the ATO as soon as possible.

Those who apply for a TFN or ABN through a tax agent should always check that the tax agent is registered with the Tax Practitioners Board.

We are encouraging everyone to be on alert and take the time to remind family and friends to be on the lookout and stay safe online so you don’t fall victim to a scam this tax time.

Need help with your tax? Please contact the accountants at our Sydney office

Scroll to Top
Call Now Button