Social networks are a dangerous place, not only because of the people you meet, but also because misinformation reigns and what seems like a simple post that you just share or ignore can end up being the reason you go to prison go.
It is not really known why, but generally users swallow everything that appears on social networks and even more so when the influencer on duty endorses it. This has happened in Australia, where, according to the Australian Tax Office (ATO), more than 56,000 citizens were involved in a widespread scam on TikTok and other platforms against their organization.
The Australian Taxation Office reportedly spent more than $1.6 billion after thousands of taxpayers filled out a form that allowed them to earn up to $50,000 by claiming GST refunds.
The spreaders of this scam, some of them even well-known influencers in the country, assured that this money was another way for the government to mitigate the damage caused by Covid 19. “Enter a large amount of money, easily and in just two minutes” with this title they managed to deceive users who could have caused losses of more than 4.6 billion dollars, although in the end the ATO only paid out 1,600.
How fraud works
As can be seen from the numerous videos of this type that have appeared on TikTok and other social networks, users had to submit a (in this case fictitious) declaration of their commercial activity in order to receive a refund of GST tax.
With a business number from the country, they registered completely false businesses and were now able to submit the declaration. The ATO estimates that each of these scammers managed to make an average of around $20,000 this way, and it was only when the scam went viral that authorities discovered this anomaly.
Problems with the law
Now that the ATO has uncovered this fraud, those who committed it are facing serious problems. As set out in Australian regulations, this law can result in prison sentences; in fact, there is already a case in which a taxpayer was sentenced to seven years and six months.
This body emphasizes and reminds taxpayers that setting up a company to obtain tax refunds is a type of fraud and advises all participants that it is best to contact them before the ATO makes the decision as the consequences will be more serious.