CBA is encouraging Aussie taxpayers to stay alert during tax season, as new research¹ reveals almost a third fail to spot a tax scam. When multiple tax phishing scams were tested with Australians over the age of 18, only 69 per cent could successfully identify all of them.

Interestingly, nine in 10 believed they were confident they could spot a fake SMS or email.

The research also showed around one in four Australians have been exposed to a tax-related scam. As millions of people wait for a tax return over the next few months, scammers will be keen to capitalise on the moment.

SMS phishing scammers impersonate myGov and the Australian Tax Office (ATO) to “phish” for personal information, including bank card details. The link within the SMS will take the recipient to a fake website, which might look very real. There will be a place to enter their card details and then this unfortunately allows access to their money.

According to the National Anti-Scam Centre (NASC), phishing was the top reported scam type, followed by false billing scams, and identity theft.²

James Roberts, CBA’s General Manager of Group Fraud, said: “While it’s encouraging to see a majority of Aussies were confidently able to spot scams when tested, concerningly almost a third didn’t correctly spot all of them. As a nation, we’ve made good inroads into reducing the impact of scams, but we all need to stay vigilant and across the latest scam trends.  

“Scammers are the most opportunistic criminals and will actively campaign to capitalise on tax season. Everyone should keep an eye out for text messages and emails impersonating myGov and the ATO. They may appear in a thread of legitimate messages from these organisations. The major red flag for this type of scam is the link, which differs considerably from the official myGov and ATO website addresses. If you’re unsure, contact the organisation on a verified phone number or via their official website or app, otherwise delete the text.”   

Tax scam survey infographic Tax scam survey infographic

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The research also found that 84 per cent of Aussies are concerned about someone in their close circle falling victim to a scam, with 42 per cent of those being concerned for parents or grandparents.

“According to the National Anti-Scam Centre, those aged over 65 recorded the highest losses of any age cohort last year and our research highlights many people are particularly concerned about older Australians.

“We urge people to talk to their social network and remind them to stop, check and reject anything suspicious. If you think you may have fallen victim to a scam, then contact your bank immediately,” added Roberts.

“At CBA, we’re committed to protecting customers from all types of scams. More broadly, we have implemented new detection, prevention and education initiatives to help keep customers safe, including CBA’s NameCheck feature that gives you an indication whether the account name and account information matches,” said Mr Roberts.    

Tips to stay safe from tax-related scams

  • Stop: Does a call, email of text seem suspicious? Take a moment to think about your next step. Legitimate organisations won’t put you under pressure to act immediately.
  • Check: Ask someone you trust or contact the organisation on a verified number. If you receive a message claiming to be from the ATO, independently verify its legitimacy by contacting the official ATO helpline or visiting their official website. Do not rely on contact details provided by the potential scammer.
  • Reject: If you’re unsure, hang up on the caller, delete the email, block the phone number.  

For more information on protecting yourself from scams and fraud, visit:

Image of example phishing tax scams Image of example phishing tax scams

¹YouGov research comprised of a nationally representative sample of 1,023 Australians aged 18 and above, conducted online between 20 May and 23 May 2024. 

²National Anti-Scam Centre in action, January to March 2024 quarterly report.

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