Five simple ways to protect your business from scammers this tax time

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The end of the financial year isn’t just a busy time for businesses – it’s also a prime time for cyber criminals who try to steal your information and money. It’s a good time to stop and remind your employees of the increased risk and the simple steps you can reduce the risk to your business. Scammers are becoming more sophisticated, so sometimes it can be hard to know whether a message is really from the ATO or a scam. In 2017, the ATO received over 81,000 reports of scams with $2.3 million reported lost and almost 10,000 people divulging personal information.

1) Know the status of your tax affairs
Sometimes it can be hard to tell if a message is really from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) or a scam. You’re less likely to fall victim to a scam if you’re aware of the details of debts owed, refunds due and lodgements outstanding. You can check these regularly if you are a sole trader through ATO Online linked via your myGov account or by contacting your registered tax professional.
2) Monitor your accounts for suspicious activity
Keep an eye on your accounts for suspicious activity. If you notice transactions you didn’t make, contact the organisation immediately to confirm the transaction.
3) Remove system access
Unauthorised access to systems by past employees is a common security issue for business. Immediately remove access including AUSkey, from people who don’t work for you anymore or have changed roles and no longer require access.
4) Keep your business information safe
Cybercriminals can use information such as your AUSkey to commit tax fraud in your name. Beware of anyone asking you to ‘confirm’ your details. And don’t share your details unless you’ve checked the person you’re dealing with is who they say they are.
5) Be smart with social media!
Much like your personal profile, consider what business information you’re sharing publicly. Scammers use information from social media to impersonate you and send emails to your clients requesting information or money.

Where to get help

If you are ever unsure about a request for information or the validity of an ATO interaction, call the ATO Scam Hotline on 1800 008 540 or visit ato.gov.au/scams
If you believe your business has been the victim of cybercrime, report it to the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN).
If your business has experienced a data breach, contact the ATO for assistance on 1800 467 033 or visit www.ato.gov.au/databreachbusiness
For more tips and information about cyber safety at tax time and where to get help, visit http://www.staysmartonline.gov.au/taxtime18

How scam savvy are you?

Take this short quiz from the ATO to see if you and your business are ready this tax time to beat the scammers at their own game! – ATO Quiz

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