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Advice To Beat Tax Scammers



It’s a busy time of year for Accountants and Bookkeepers — but we are not the only ones.

Cyber security experts are predicting an increase in scam activity targeting small-to-medium businesses over the next month as fraudsters ramp up their tax time scams.

You need to be vigilant, with a recent survey finding just over 80% of Small business owners say they’re worried about online identity theft over the end of financial year period, mainly due to the large amount of information that is now transferred online.



Common scams to watch out for this tax time

Experts are saying that July will be the heaviest month for scam activity, but are predicting a large volume of email fraud to start floating around over the next couple of weeks.

Here’s what to watch for.

  • Scammers impersonating tax agents or accountants offering to reduce your tax burden.
  • Emails, text messages or phone calls purporting to be from the tax office offering tax breaks.
  • Tax office impersonators claiming you’ve made an error on your tax return or need to update your details.
  • Any correspondence where the status of your financial accounts or personal information is questioned.
  • Emails, text messages or phone calls where fraudsters claim your data is being held hostage.


Advice for beating the scammers


The golden rule: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is, or at least merits a sceptical approach.

  • Only share personal or financial information with tax agents or bookkeepers you know and trust.
  • Always ask anyone asking for sensitive information or payment to confirm their identity.
  • If someone claims to be from the ATO, but won’t confirm their identity, hang up.
  • It’s a good time of the year for a general security check, changing all passwords and getting two-step authentication.
  • As the ACCC noted last month: don’t trust email!

 

It is important to keep in mind you personally are much more likely to be targeted as a security vulnerability than your computer is. In other words, humans are the weak point scammers are targeting.

 

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