Financial Diary – Santiago
“Deposit a large amount of money, easily and in just two minutes“With these words, a massive fraud that has affected the Australian Tax Office, ATO, went viral on social media – specifically, TikTok -. Thousands of taxpayers filled out the form that allowed them to obtain income from up to US$50,000 when claiming refunds of the country’s service tax, GST.
The viral fraud, explained by several users, including influencers, through TikTok, has affected Australian tax services, who have suffered these attacks worth US$ 4.6 billion, although the Agency has only disbursed US$ 1.6 billion. The ATO is currently recovering from the big scam.
““We have identified a significant number of attempted GST refund fraud,” he said in a statement.. “Fraudulent activity has been circulating as advertising and content online, particularly on social media. We are working with digital platforms to stamp out this advertising,” she adds.
How was it?
The influencers who encouraged this scam claimed that the amounts were being delivered by the Australian Government to alleviate the consequences of covid-19 and obtain loans from the ATO. The fraud consisted of fictitious business activity declarations to obtain GST tax refunds.
Scammers acquired an Australian business number and registered completely fake businesses. From there, they presented Declarations of Business Activity. With this scam, TikTok users who used it claimed to have spent huge amounts building their business and requested a 10% GST refund from the ATO.
According to information from the Australian Financial Review, thousands of people made false claims every day. The tax office estimates it at US$20,000 the average amount scammed per person. Australian tax services’ prevention measures were overwhelmed when the fraud went viral, with thousands of people submitting false refund claims each day.
Now, all those involved face a charge of fraud, which according to Australian regulations can lead to prison sentences. In fact, the ATO recalls that “in May 2022, we warned the community to be alert to fraud schemes that were promoted through social media and other channels.” The tax services warn that a taxpayer has been convicted for this same fraud related to the GST, to seven years and six months in prison with a non-parole period of five years. “The idea of gaining financial advantages through deception was changed,” the statement said.
“For those who may be tempted by the promise of big profits, the ATO has sophisticated risk models and works with banks, law enforcement agencies and other organizations to share information and detect fraud,” the office says in a statement. . In factthe banks were the first to sound the alarmupon detecting strange deposits in customer accounts from the ATO.
Australian Revenue Services is asking those involved to contact them. “If you are involved, talk to us now. You may be able to correct it yourself. We urge everyone already involved to come forward now voluntarily instead of facing harsher consequences later,” the statement said.