The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and Services Australia have released a warning about a new email impersonation scam. The fake emails claim to be from ‘myGov’ and include screenshots of the myGovID app. The email asks people to click a link to verify their identity using a ‘secure form’ that takes them to a fake myGovID page requesting personal identifying information and banking details. myGovID is an app that can be used to prove who you are when you are accessing government online services. ATO systems, myGov and myGovID have not been compromised.
ATO Assistant Commissioner Ben Foster said the phishing scam contains warning signs that it is not legitimate; for example, asking people to click a link to confirm their details and spelling errors.
“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 Foster.
Foster added that the lead-up to tax time can see an increase in malicious attempts to harvest identity details. Foster urged everyone to be on alert and to remind family and friends to be on the lookout and stay safe online. Foster said this scam is about collecting personal information from victims rather than trying to access live information via myGov or myGovID.
Services Australia General Manager Hank Jongen said scams are becoming more sophisticated and urged people to be wary of emails asking for identity documents or personal identifying information. Jongen also encourages concerned citizens to connect Services Australia’s Scans and Identity Theft Helpdesk on 1800 941 126.
The helpdesk will provide advice on what to do if a citizen has been scammed and connect callers with identity recovery services. The helpdesk is open Monday to Friday, 8 am to 5 pm AEST.
“If you’ve opened an email that looks suspicious, don’t click any links, open any attachments or reply to it. If you‘ve received the suspicious email and provided your myGov sign-in information, you should take immediate action. Change your myGov password and, if you’ve provided your banking details, contact your bank,” said Jongen.
Those who receive an SMS or email that appears to be from myGov, which contains a link or seems suspicious, can report it to ScamWatch. Lists of the latest ATO and Services Australia scam alerts and more information about how to identify and report impersonation scams are available on the ATO and Services Australia websites.
Citizens are urged to be cautious when clicking on hyperlinks embedded in SMS and emails, and should not click on links or attachments in emails from unknown sources. Personal information and passwords should also be kept secure, with passwords changed regularly. Antivirus software should also be installed on all devices, with the software set to automatically check for updates on a daily basis. Personal information should also be stored in a secure place.
When downloading the myGovID app, citizens should also ensure that it is from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. When logging in with myGovID, ensure that the URL displayed in your browser includes https://www.myGovID.gov.au or https://myGovID.gov.au.