10 Tax Time Tips To Help You Avoid Being Scammed!

Here we are in June already and this means that tax time is literally knocking on our door!

Gone are the days of physically lodging your return via paper, with most folks lodging their returns through the ATO portal electronically, for convenience and speed. It’s a fantastic way to get it done and hopefully get that refund back into your pocket sooner!

However, there’s been a raft of tax time scams bought to our attention over the years and this is why we thought we’d put together this helpful list below for you:

10 Tax Time Security Tips

  • Protect your Tax File Number (TFN) with your life – yes this is serious folks! Your TFN is your key to dealing with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and you must make sure that you don’t give your TFN to people who call and ask for it. The ATO advises that only the following can ask you for your TFN. The Tax Office when discussing your tax records, your employer after you start work, your bank or other financial institutions, Centrelink and your superannuation fund.
  • Make sure your computer has up to date security software – in this day and age, it is so important to make sure that your antivirus is up to date and that you’re regularly scanning your machine.
  • Use anti spam software – this helps to trap phishing emails purporting to be from the ATO or those that contain malicious attachments.
  • Update all of your computer software – having the most recent updates for your software helps to protect your computer and the valuable information that you store on it. Also make sure that your web browser is the latest version.
  • Be wary of the personal information that you post online – all of this information can make you vulnerable. Things like pet names, birth dates etc can make it easy for criminals to guess your passwords.
  • Use a firewall on your computer – having a firewall on your machine is essential, particularly if you are transacting or lodging tax returns.
  • Identity theft is a very real thing – you really can’t be too careful with your personal information. Be vigilant on the phone, as scammers are touting for this information constantly and also watch what you’re throwing out, including bills containing your information and computer hard drives with sensitive information on them.
  • SMS scams are rife at tax time – don’t believe any SMS that comes to your phone purporting to be from the ATO. These sorts of scams often require ‘more information’ from you before your tax refund can be completed. If you are in any doubt then phone the ATO immediately on 13 28 61.
  • Stay informed – this is your best protection against all of the nasties that not only try to get us to divulge our sensitive information at tax time but all year round. You can visit the ATO website for more information on ways to help you remain alert.