Scammers are out in force at tax time – how you can stay safe

It’s the end of the financial year and while Australians are either searching for a bargain, purchase a product to earn a tax refund or file their tax returns, scammers are out in force to take advantage of the increased number of shoppers online.

Tax time is always a dangerous time of year for consumers with sensitive information being shared and this makes it even more attractive for scammers and cyber criminals who increase their activity and frequency of attacks in the hope of exploiting unknowing Australians.

The scams that occur around tax time range from phishing attacks to identity theft.

According to the ACCC, phishing has been the top scam reported with more than 23,000 reports to date in 2021.

At this time of year there is also a rise in government impersonation scams.

Last year there was a massive increase in scams during tax time including text messages and emails claiming to be from myGov or agencies who said they could help victims gain early access to their superannuation.

So what can you do to protect yourself?

NortonLifeLock cybersecurity expert Mark Gorrie has provided some tips which will help you spot a scam and stay protected during tax season.

  1. Be cautious of Australian Taxation Office (ATO) impersonation scams.
  2. If you’re not sure about the validity of any communication from the ATO, call them directly.
  3. Use comprehensive security software on your computer and backup regularly.
  4. Look for misleading signals in an email and never open attachments if you are unsure.
  5. Know the status of your tax affairs and your accounts.
  6. If you’re filing your taxes online, use a secure Wi-Fi connection or a VPN.
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