As the November 21 deadline for tax payments in Australia approaches, the country’s tax agency issued a warning not to make payments through cryptocurrency ATMs.
In its press release, the Australian Tax Office asked the public to be on “high alert” for swindlers in the guise of tax agents demanding payment.
Based on complaints reported to the ATO, payments through cryptocurrency ATMs have become the most common means by which people are scammed, overtaking payments through iTunes vouchers.
Since July 1, the agency has received 28,000 reports of scam attempts, with about AUD1 million ($730,000) actually paid out to the criminals.
“November is a prime time for scammers as they know lots of people have tax bills to pay. Be wary if someone contacts you demanding payment of a tax debt you didn’t know you owed,” ATO Assistant Commissioner Kath Anderson said.
“Our advice is simple – the ATO will never ask you to make a payment into an ATM or via gift or pre-paid cards such as iTunes and Visa cards, or direct credit to be paid to a personal bank account,” she added.
Anderson also expressed concern over taxpayers–6,000 since July 1–sharing personal information such as tax identification numbers and bank account numbers, to fake tax agents.
The press release provides a number, 1800 008 540, to call in case one is uncertain of a payment one is being asked to make. Anderson also noted that ATO personnel would not demand immediate payment or threaten with arrests, nor be aggressive or rude in their demeanor.
“That’s just not how we do business. We understand that it can sometimes be difficult to pay tax bills on time, so we urge anyone who is worried about paying to contact us as soon as possible as there are a range of ways we can help,” she said, citing a payment plan to aid delinquents.
Anderson said, “Taxpayers who lodge through a registered tax agent generally have longer to pay their tax bill. Your tax agent will advise if and when any payment is due.”
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