Beware, Aussies on TikTok: Influencers Promote $1.2 Billion GST Scam

Beware, Aussies on TikTok: Influencers Promote $1.2 Billion GST Scam

Australians are being warned about a major GST scam that's been promoted by influencers on TikTok. Fraudsters exploited the platform, leading to billions in false claims, with tens of thousands now facing compliance action. Learn how to spot the signs and protect yourself.

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) has pointed fingers at TikTok influencers for promoting a large-scale scam which resulted in a staggering $1.2 billion in fraudulent GST claims. The deceitful scheme saw individuals obtaining an Australian Business Number and subsequently registering a made-up business through MyGov.




After registration, these scammers would falsely state that they had incurred hefty expenses in setting up the business. This would be followed by seeking a 10% GST refund from the ATO.

In response to the alarming situation, the ATO initiated Operation Protego last year, conducting raids in major cities like Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane. This operation has so far led to the successful arrest and conviction of 10 individuals involved in the scam. Additionally, over 56,000 people have faced compliance actions due to their involvement.

Moreover, proactive measures by the ATO prevented an additional $2.7 billion from being fraudulently claimed.

Tips to Spot Scammers:

  1. Too Good to Be True: Be wary of offers or schemes that promise quick money or unrealistically high returns.
  2. Unsolicited Contact: Scammers often reach out first. If you didn’t initiate the contact or don't know the person reaching out, be cautious.
  3. Pressure Tactics: Many scammers push you to make decisions quickly, preventing you from seeking advice or thinking things through.
  4. Vague Details: A legitimate offer or business opportunity should provide clear, verifiable details. If information is scant or vague, it could be a scam.
  5. Asking for Personal Info: Be cautious if someone you don't know asks for personal or financial details. Legitimate entities will have secure methods for such processes.
  6. Check Their Digital Footprint: Look for reviews, testimonials, and other online information about the person or company to determine their legitimacy.
  7. Trust Your Gut: If something feels off, it probably is. Always trust your instincts.

Protect yourself by staying informed and taking a moment to research before making any financial decisions or sharing personal information.

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