ATO adjusts trustee communication

ATO SMS SMSF Communication

The ATO has notified SMSF trustees it has changed the content of its text alerts in order to prevent scams.

The ATO has made a minor change to the way it communicates with SMSF trustees in an effort to combat identity fraud and scams.

“Our short message service (SMS) alerts for changes made to an SMSF used to contain a hyperlink. This has recently been removed as part of an ATO-wide project involving the removing of hyperlinks from all our SMS. This will help protect you by making it easier to distinguish between a legitimate ATO SMS and a fake SMS. Our email alerts still contain some hyperlinks,” the ATO stated.

The regulator normally sends fund members an SMS alert when a new SMSF has been registered or when an existing fund’s financial account details, electronic service address, authorised contact details or members have changed.”

To that end, it emphasised communication between fund members was key in verifying whether a message advising of a change in the fund was genuine.

“If you receive a SMS or email regarding a new SMSF registration, or any changes made to your existing SMSF that you are not aware of, you should contact the other trustees or directors of your SMSF and any authorised representatives to check if they have made the changes,” it stated.

Additionally, it urged trustees who were concerned about changes made to their fund to contact them by phone, regardless of whether they believed any message was real or fake, and reminded SMSF members of the importance of ensuring their contact details were up to date.

“To safeguard your super, it’s important you keep your email and mobile phone details up to date as this will help ensure you continue to receive our alerts,” it stated.

“If you’re asked to provide or need to check or update any of your information for your SMSF, we strongly recommend going directly to our website.”

SMSF members were also reminded they should not provide specific financial details of a fund via SMS or email to the ATO.

The change comes after a senior SMSF specialist noted trustees may be ignoring communication from the ATO because they are wary of scammers operating by telephone.


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