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Subsidy Benefit in Australia

How the scam works:

Phishing scams are one of the oldest games in the scam book. Once a scammer has your personal information, he or she can sell it to the highest bidder on the identity theft black market.

This phishing scam involves an email from the Australian Taxation Office, promising a large tax refund simply by clicking a link in the email and completing a form.

The text of the email is: "We at the Australia Taxation Office would like to infor you that you have qualified for 2013 subsidy benefit. Simply reply to this secure message with the following details below:"

The form asks for your name, address, any other given names, date of birth, post code, province and suburb or town. They also require the submission of personal financial information as well, in order to pass along the refund. Of course, the refund never arrives – but your identity is now for sale.

How to avoid:

The message is convincing because it contains the official letterhead from the Australian Taxation Office. However, be aware this is not difficult for scammers to copy into an email body. Be aware that the ATO will never ask for personal identifying information or financial information via email. Also, if you are eligible for a subsidy, they will notify you by mail, not in an electronic format. If you receive this email, notify the ATO or your local authorities.

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