In 2014 TAXVINE No 35 (26 September 2014), Member 146 wrote about a telepone call received by his secretarial staff from an ATO officer for personal details of clients. Having failed to satisfy the staff of his identity, the ATO officer then sent an email to the staff referring to a breach of the Code of Professional Conduct. Member 146 asked how the events described could possibly constitute a breach of the Code.
THE ATO NOW RESPONDS
"Member 146 did not wish to be contacted by the ATO and unfortunately we were unable to discuss the specific circumstances of this issue and resolve it fully. We can advise that ATO officers will identify themselves clearly by providing their full name and the section in which they work. If at any stage you have doubts about the person contacting you being an ATO employee or you want a more formal confirmation, ask for the officer's contact details, including their full name, their extension number, or the name of their team leader and their extension number. The situation described does not reflect ATO practices and we suspect this phone call and email could be a phishing scam. We encourage anyone who is not satisfied with the identity of someone contacting them from the ATO to utilise the following process to verify that person's identity if there is any doubt. Our Online Security page also has valuable information on how to protect against tax scams and fraud."