Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

ATO on alert as myGov email scam makes the rounds

Another week, another scam, as criminals use phishing to try to get people to hand over their banking details in Australia.

It seems as though there’s no shortage to the things scammers will do to try and get you to hand over your banking details. You shouldn’t, of course, but they’re always going to try, and this week, details emerged of another scam doing the rounds.

The news comes from the Australian Taxation Office, the ATO, and Services Australia, which has released news that a myGov email scam is going around, basically reading as an official email with screenshots from the myGov ID app, but asking people to verify their identity using a link.

Another of the many phishing scams that go around, that link takes them to a fake myGovID website designed to look like the real thing, which in turn hopes people enter their details for a scammer to take.

While frustrating, the scam isn’t a massive surprise, given we’re in the lead up to tax season, and it’s about now we can expect tax scams to start to heat up.

This one is a little different, however, simply because it tries to land victims by using the myGovID system, a government app that can be used to prove who you are when accessing services from the government, such as the ATO. However, in this email scam, this is clearly not the real thing.

“The ATO and myGov does send emails and SMS messages, however will never send you an email or SMS with a hyperlink directing you to a login page for our online services,” said Ben Foster, Assistant Commissioner for the ATO.

“In the lead up to tax time, we expect to see more of these malicious attempts to harvest identity details. So we encourage everyone to be on alert and take the time to remind family and friends to be on the lookout and stay safe online,” he said.

Much like with other scams, it’s important to be cautious when you’re sent an email with a link in it, especially one purporting to be from the government.

An image of what the myGovID scam looks like.
An image of what the myGovID scam looks like. Credit: ATO

Services Australia notes that anyone who has clicked on one of these links and provided identifying information may want to take action, but in a different way.

“If you‘ve received the suspicious email and provided your myGov sign in information you should take immediate action,” said Hank Jongen, General Manager for Services Australia.

“Change your myGov password and if you’ve provided your banking details, contact your bank,” he said.

“If you’re still concerned and require extra support you can call Services Australia’s Scams and Identity Theft Helpdesk on 1800 941 126. Staff will be able to give you advice on what to do if you’ve been scammed, and connect you with identity recovery services.”

After the week that was Privacy Awareness Week 2021 and this year’s World Password Day, the scam is a timely reminder of the importance of checking emails and making sure you don’t share crucial information. There are a lot of people out there that would all too gladly like to take personal identifying information and use it for their own means, and this is one scam that if you receive you should just delete as soon as it arrives.

Simply put, if you see a message purporting to be from myGov asking you to click on a link to verify your identity, approach with caution, hesitation, and consider calling either Services Australia or the ATO as soon as possibly.

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