So far this year the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has received more than 10,000 reports on a wide range of scams including fake job advertisements, emails and bogus phone calls.
"One of the most alarming incidents is that scammers are using fake job advertisements to illegally access people's personal information. Bogus job ads are being posted on recruitment websites by scammers where people are being asked to provide their tax file numbers (TFN) as a part of their job application” said Tax Commissioner Michael D'Ascenzo.
In some cases, people have even been offered the advertised position and then asked to provide their TFN and bank account details prior to the start date of employment and after providing this personal information, the job offer has then been withdrawn. You should not provide a prospective employer with personal details, such as your TFN or bank account details until after you begin work in the position.
ATO investigations have shown that the advertised positions never existed and those running the scams generally communicate by email or mobile phones. Scammers can use personal information to lodge false tax returns in your name, enable the use of your credit cards or even result in people taking out a loan in your name. In some cases, identity crime can take years to resolve.
At this time of year when many people expect refunds, scammers use the opportunity to pretend to be from the ATO. Only certain people and organisations can ask for your TFN, the most common being:
• the ATO, when discussing your tax records;
• your employer, but only after you start work;
• your bank or other financial institutions;
• Centrelink; and
• your superannuation fund.