In this second article in our series on where businesses should be heading to from here, we outline the ATO’s caution on the increase in targeted cyber-criminal activity and how businesses and individuals can protect themselves.
The ATO has announced that it is aware of a significant increase in Australians being targeted by cyber criminals, including COVID-19 scams, fraud attempts and deceptive email and SMS schemes.
Whilst tax scams are not new, it seems cyber criminals are attracted to the relatively large sums that are potentially being paid to individuals and businesses where these recipients are not used to dealing directly with the ATO, and aware of how they normally act. There appears to be a particular focus on the recent JobKeeper payment and early release of superannuation measures.
According to the ATO, it will communicate with applicants via SMS and email regarding their JobKeeper and early release of superannuation applications. However it recommends that applicants should not reply if they are unsure whether an ATO interaction is genuine. Rather, they should check with the ATO via other means first to confirm if the communication is genuine.
A number of common scamming methods which the ATO would not engage in, include:
Individuals and businesses can protect themselves by:
Some scammers are very sophisticated and it can often be very hard to distinguish them from legitimate ATO officers or communications. It always pays to be wary. If you encounter any of the above situations or have any concerns regarding the legitimacy of a purported ATO contact you should end the communication immediately and contact the ATO directly to confirm if the issue is genuine.
If you are still concerned, reach out to your KPMG advisor, who will be able to liaise with the ATO on your behalf.
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