Online tax scam warnings issued

Symantec says it has identified a number of fraudulent emails claiming to be from the ATO

Taxpayers are being warned of a number of tax-related online scams claiming speedy electronic tax returns, but which are really fronts for phishing attacks seeking personal banking details.

The scams, identified by Symantec's MessageLabs business unit, falsely claim to come from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and appear legitimate with the inclusion of the ATO's logo and links to its official website.

The scams claim to offer online tax returns with enticing subject lines including, "benefits of e-tax," "eligibility requirements" and "click here to get tax refund," in exchange for confidential banking information along with passwords to collect the refund. This information then lets scammers log into the victim’s account to steal their money.

Other scam emails circulating may imitate legitimate online tax returns, Symantec warns, from which the information entered is then gathered by scammers attempting to gain access to the user’s personal accounts or to impersonate the victim online.

The ATO has advised people to contact them immediately on receiving fraudulent emails or communication, or are unsure of the legitimacy of communication claiming to be from the ATO.

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