Australian Taxation Office scammers strike yet again

Scammers have targeted the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) once again, offering a tax refund which you can search for and claim on-line.

The emails are obviously fakes (the from addresses are garbage, the link in the email doesn’t go to the ATO, and the ATO never offers refunds in this way), so you’d have to be having a really bad day to fall for this scam. But if you were to click through, you’d reach phishing pages which are visually quite appealing.

First you search for yourself – so no immediate request for credit card details. This brings up a Web-2.0ish “processing” page for a few seconds, before you are thrust into a full-on phishing page, where you are invited to disclose important personally identifiable information.

The sad thing about this sort of old-school phish is that any naive and trusting internet users who might be conned by it are probably the very same users who trust that the Australian government’s internet filtering plan would protect them from it. After all, the government doesn’t call its mandatory filtering “censorship”. It calls it “measures to improve safety of the internet for families.”

As I have already argued quite strongly, the government’s mandatory filtering plan will do nothing is to protect naive users against cybercriminals. Nor, for that matter, will it protect children against on-line predators who stalk them illegally in legitimate forums.

Those of us who know better will need to continue with the task of advising and mentoring friends and family who are naive internet users. Sadly, we won’t get a rebate against the tax money the government will pour down the drain (or will force our ISPs to pour down the drain) pretending to protect us.