Tax time is a prime time for cybercriminals trying to get their hands on your money and personal details! Whether you’re a business owner, tax professional or individual, there are some simple things you can do to apply good cyber security practices and avoid tax time scams.
BEFORE YOU GET STARTED: PREPARE YOUR DEVICES
Lock down your devices and accounts
Create long and unique passphrases for all accounts and use multi-factor authentication (MFA) wherever possible. MFA will fortify your online accounts by creating an extra layer of security, such as a unique one-time code sent to your phone. Most major email and online tax preparation services including myGov have this tool available.
Install a password manager
Remembering unique passwords for accounts is difficult. Store your login credentials in a password manager. Password managers will automatically populate your username and password upon login, and even recommend strong new passwords for each account.
Make sure to update everything
Before filing your taxes at home or work, be sure that all internet-connected devices ‒including PCs, smartphones and tablets ‒ are running the most current versions of software to improve the performance and security of your devices.
NOW WE CAN GET STARTED
Always log into myGov to check your tax messages
Impersonating trusted brands like the ATO or myGov is a common trick used by scammers, particularly to try and threaten people to pay fake tax debts or hand over personal details to receive a 'refund'.
Turn on the security code in your myGov account
Having a strong password on your myGov account is a great first step, but adding a security code to your login process provides an extra layer of protection – making it harder for a hacker to get any further if they crack your password. The security code is a number that is sent to your mobile phone when signing into myGov and is a quick and secure way to access ATO online services. To set up your security code, sign in to your myGov account and turn it on in 'Account settings'.
Keep your personal information private
The ATO will never ask you to provide any personal identifying information in order to receive a refund.
Don’t give out your Tax File Number (TFN), date of birth or bank details unless you’ve checked the person you’re dealing with is who they say they are and they genuinely require these details.
Stay safe when using Wi-Fi
Be careful about what you do online when you’re connected to a hotspot or free public Wi-Fi. While it’s OK to check the news or the weather, don’t make financial transactions like completing your tax return when you’re connected to public Wi-Fi. These networks are not secure so it’s easier for cybercriminals to intercept your information. When doing tax time transactions from home or your business, ensure that your private Wi-Fi network is secure with a strong password.
Keep your business info safe at tax time
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 are dealing with is who they say they are.
Help others be cyber safe!
Share ATO and ACSC scam warnings with family, friends, customers and colleagues to help keep them safe online. Report suspicious emails claiming to be from the ATO by forwarding the entire email to ReportEmailFraud@ato.gov.au and then delete the email. Do not click on any links, open attachments or download files. You can also report cyber security incidents to ReportCyber.
If you need help getting your computer, phone, laptop, or tablet’s security systems up to date, don’t hesitate and call DUX IT today. We’ll make sure your devices are properly protected against viruses, scams, malware, spyware, and more. Call us today.