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Bitcoin tax scammers

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) is warning taxpayers to be aware of scammers impersonating the Tax Office and demanding cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin as payment for fake tax debts.

The ATO became aware of these fraudsters late last year with over $50,000 paid in Bitcoin to scammers claiming fake ATO debts.

Once scammers receive payment, it is virtually impossible to recover it as cryptocurrency operates in a digital world.

The ATO is also warning taxpayers to be wary of other tax scams such as those demanding direct deposits into third-party bank accounts, demanding payment via iTunes cards or with a prepaid Visa gift card.

Over 80,000 scams were reported to the ATO in 2017, accounting for almost $2.4 million lost to scammers impersonating the ATO.

Almost one-third of victims were targeted with iTunes gift card scams, resulting in over $900,000 lost to scammers. More than half of all losses (roughly $1.2 million) were from deposits or transfers made directly into third-party bank accounts.

Scammers are also targeting taxpayers’ personal information with many reports of scammers asking for an individual’s Tax File Number.

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Protect yourself from early super release scams

August 7, 2018

When it comes to protecting your nest egg, avoid getting caught out by a promoter of an illegal early release super scheme.

Early release super scheme scams will involve a promoter contacting you and offering to help you access your super early. They usually target individuals under significant financial pressure or those who are not knowledgeable about super laws and the repercussions and penalties involved in illegally accessing your super.

You can only access your super when you meet a condition of release.

Generally, when you:
– Are 65 years old (even if you have not yet retired).
– Reach your preservation age and retire.
– Reach your preservation age and begin a transition to retirement income stream while still working.

There are special circumstances where you may be able to access your super early.

These special circumstances include:
– Severe financial hardship
– Temporary or permanent incapacity
– Compassionate grounds
– Temporary residents leaving Australia
– Super death benefits (inheriting super)
– Super less than $200
– Terminal medical condition

To avoid falling for an illegal early super release scam, be wary if the promoter:
– charges high fees and commissions;
– requests identity documents;
– claims you can access your super and put the funds towards whatever you wish;
– and tries to persuade you to transfer or rollover your super from your existing fund to a self-managed super fund (SMSF) in order to access your super before you are legally entitled.