We live in a digital world and everything seems to be moving so fast these days. Communication has become something that is so hard to keep up with, let alone keeping your personal information secure.
Your Tax information is vital and there are many scams that happen during the tax time that can lead to identity theft and other serious crimes.
The ATO (Australian Tax Office) want you to be aware of all the ways you can stay safe this tax time. Scams are no longer an issue with these easy steps! Here are some crucial tips to keep your tax information safe:
1. Keep your passwords private
Do not share your passwords or PINs with anyone, not even family members. Make sure to use passwords that are hard to crack and change them regularly. Your passwords and PINs will give anyone access to your information if they are compromised.
2. Keep your software up-to-date
Always keep your internet browser updated with the latest security patches so hackers can’t find out information about your computer or operating system in order to exploit it. Newer browsers also have advanced protection against phishing websites that can look like the original website.
3. Always Use myGov and update your details
To keep your myGov up-to-date we suggest you log in and update all your details, including bank accounts and tax file numbers. This way you won’t receive any uninvited emails from scammers pretending to be the ATO. Scammers use this information to access your myGov account and upload fake documents that look real.
4. Keep your computer protected with anti-virus software
Hackers are getting smarter and more advanced, so it is important to keep your computer up to date with anti-virus programs that can protect you against any threats they have! There are many different ones available so shop around to find the one for you.
5. Check your statement and bills
Always check your personal statements and services to make sure that the information is correct. If there are any mistakes or unexpected charges, immediately ask for an explanation on where they came from. You should contact them directly instead of going through a third party in order to keep yourself protected from scams.
6. Only use HTTPS websites
If you’re on a website, look for the ‘lock’ symbol and the letters “https://” in front of the URL to make sure that it’s a secure website. You can also see if there is a padlock symbol by your password box. If it says locked, then you know your information will be safe!
7. Be aware of scams
Always be aware that scammers are out there, pretending to be the ATO and other important people in your life. They will try to get information from you by saying they’re working for an organisation or by asking personal questions. The best thing to do is, pause before taking any action and go get the real information to verify that the call was indeed legitimate.
8. Do not click on links you do not know
Make sure that when you get an email from the ATO, go directly to their website and submit your login instead of clicking any links in suspicious messages. Once you enter your details into such a fake website it will be sent straight to the scammer behind it!
9. Do not use Online websites for any Tax, GST purposes unless:
They have a physical office in Australia with a fixed land line number you can talk to and follow up in case of any Tax issues in the future. If they do not have a physical address and you are still inclined to use their services then check their Tax agents number and registered name with the Tax Practitioners board’s website to make sure they are registered Tax agents or BAS agents.
Do not get lured by fancy professional websites promising large refunds. Please make sure they have all the professional registrations to perform your task.
The ATO is doing all that they can to keep you and your information safe, but we still need you to stay updated and aware of the many scams out there. These websites and emails may look very real and legitimate so it’s important to double-check everything with the right source before taking any action.