by George Katsudas
With tax fraud on the rise, it is important to protect yourself from fraudulent activities during the tax filing season. In many cases, people have no idea that tax fraud has happened until their tax return becomes rejected, or they receive a notification from the ATO. Let’s ensure that doesn’t happen to you!
Being mindful about the safety of your personal data, can prevent problems involving tax fraud, as well as online theft or any other criminal offenses.
To ensure your safety against potential tax fraud, you need to be aware of the methods that scammers use to phish your personal, and financial, information. In this article, we’ve listed some of the most common fraud practices, and tips to help you avoid them.
Additionally, this article is focused on tax fraud in Australia, however all of the basic information below also applies to every other country in the world.
Phishing Texts, Calls, And Emails
One of the most common methods used by cybercriminals to obtain your personal and financial information, is through phishing. Phishing is a type of fraudulent activity where victims are contacted through text, phone calls, or email, by someone who is pretending to be a representative from a legitimate company or governmental agency.
Once victims respond to these attempts, they will then be lured into providing their sensitive data, such as their personally identifiable information, and other financial data, including credit card information, and passwords.
All or most fraudsters usually pull this off by acting as a concerned representative whose job is to verify personal information for security purposes.
To counter such phishing attempts, you can take advantage of the latest security software updates available on your current computer operating system. With the use of firewalls, and anti-spam programs, securing your private information stored on your device is made easier.
If you receive any suspicious and unprecedented emails or calls, it is recommended that you verify their legitimacy before responding. Typically, government institutions will not call you on the phone, and ask for your information to verify the existing data in your file.
In addition, government agencies worldwide typically warn individuals not to carelessly share any personal information, to potentially prevent fraudulent activity on their account(s).
Fake Billing Notifications
Scammers can also send fake billing notifications to businesses to make them pay false invoices online. This online invoice scam has been active for years, and the number of victims is growing every day, despite warnings from official agencies and establishments.
Therefore, it is important to be mindful about the billing statements, and invoices, that you receive on a regular basis. It is recommended that you examine each invoice to ensure that your payment is directed into the right account.
Moreover, scammers can take advantage of your busy work routine to distract you from paying close attention to your billing responsibilities.
Thus, it is crucial to remain attentive when it comes to fulfilling your financial obligations, to help you avoid any unwarranted transactions.
Updated security software, and operating systems, will still come in handy in terms of protecting your private information. Also, if you feel uneasy about the invoice that you received, don’t hesitate to confirm the details to avoid getting scammed.
In cases like these, it is recommended that you keep previous invoices, and paid billings, so you can use these to compare and verify the billings you are currently receiving.
What You Can Do
If you have become a victim of tax fraud, there are several actions you can take to protect your money, and personal information. As soon as you realize that your sensitive information has been compromised, make sure to report it to the police, as well as to the ATO.
You should also change all of your passwords, and set a two-factor authentication, to better secure your information.
If the scammer was able to obtain your financial data, contact the bank to place a hold on your credit and debit accounts immediately. If you own a business and are worried about tax fraud, it is advisable to communicate the situation directly to the ATO.
The majority of Australians, and citizens of other countries, are cautious and protect their personal information. However, with the advancement of technology, tax fraud is becoming easier to commit. Therefore, it is important to know how to protect yourself from becoming a victim of tax scams every tax season
At the Knox Taxation and Business Advisory, we will be happy to share our expertise to take the stress away from you during tax season. Our team of tax agents in Melbourne CBD can provide you with advice, and helpful information, to help you manage your tax responsibilities, and protect you from becoming a victim of tax fraud: George Katsudas, Suite 1, 164 Boronia Road, Boronia, VIC 3155, Australia