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ATO Scam Advice

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Don’t let your business turn to Spam (as in minced ham)!

At Knox Taxation & Business Advisory, we’re always watching the ATO website for information to help our clients, and here’s another great warning to help you avoid being thwarted by unscrupulous beings!

Spotting a scam?

The ATO reports that they “continue to see instances of scam emails, SMS or phone calls where criminals try to steal money or information from you…  These scams can be very convincing and many individuals fall victim to these each year.”

Don’t become one of the victims

“To avoid becoming a victim, it is important that you…  know some of the common characteristics of a scam.

 

Scam communications may be:

–  Unsolicited
–  Pushy and intimidating, threatening arrests or penalties if payment for an unknown tax debt is not made immediately
–  Demanding payment in full – and in some instances may be asked for via unconventional means such as iTunes cards, cash transfers or gift vouchers
–  Asking you for your personal or financial information, or to confirm information they pretend to have
–  Poorly worded, containing spelling and grammatical mistakes
–  Promising you a tax refund in exchange for a payment or personal information, and/or
–  Delivered with an attachment or fake links requesting you to lodge a form (and opening these attachments or links can cause you to download spyware or a virus).

 

How to report a scam

If a scammer or someone claiming to be from the ATO has contacted you… and you are unsure of the legitimacy,” don’t hesitate to contact the ATO, or talk to us at Knox Taxation & Business Advisory for verification of the basis of the communication.  Think and seek our advice before you respond to any demands.

Phone scams

“If you receive a suspicious call, you should hang-up the phone immediately and report the scam call to the ATO’s dedicated Scam Reporting Line on 1800 008 540,  between 8am–6pm EST, Monday to Friday.

Email scams

Whatever you do, avoid the temptation to open attachments or links and forward the email to ReportEmailFraud@ato.gov.au

(Information published on the ATO website, 6th June, 2016 – https://www.ato.gov.au/Tax-professionals/Newsroom/Your-practice/Do-you-know-how-to-spot-a-scam-/)

 

A True Story From One of Our Own Knox Tax Clients

Our clients, at Knox Tax, are usually pretty savvy, and don’t tend to open emails from people they don’t know.  However, one of our clients has reported being contacted by several unknown ‘client’ people, who queried an invoice demand from her – this was sent from our client’s registered email address (on BigPond).  To the unknowing, the email could well have come from our client.  The truth is, our client did not send the emails, had never had contact or associations with the receivers, and certainly wasn’t looking for any payments from these people.  It was a scam!  And our client was informed by IT specialists that there was nothing she could do to stop these people from sending emails from her very own BigPond account.  She reported the case to Scam Watch and BigPond immediately.  The resulting action was that they shut down her email address and her Facebook Page for some months, whilst the issue was dealt with.  Fortunately (?), her BigPond account was not her business email address and she doesn’t rely on Facebook as a business referral network!  If she did rely on them, her business would have been severely affected, and her reputation would have been unduly tarnished.

The internet is a wonderful platform through which to communicate, but our advice to you is to always be on your guard!!

Should you receive any emails of demand from unknown sources, call us and we’ll be happy to advise you of what to do, or put you in touch with experts who may be able to guide you through the process of stopping scammers from sourcing income illegally.  And if you’re in a managerial position, let your staff know too!  Our client’s targets were lower level admin people who may well have processed payments to the scammers unwittingly.

It’s a bit scary… but with good, quality checking processes and systems in place, throughout your organisation, these things can be avoided.  You already know that we’re more than just Tax Agents and Number Crunchers at Knox Tax… and that’s why we offer Business Advisory Expertise as well.  We’re always at the end of the phone and here to help you.

If you feel like a tin of scam Spam has hit your inbox, call us on 9762 7612 and we’ll help you navigate a solution.

Kind Regards,

Coral Page – Principal

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