Eye Out For Scams
The end of the financial year is one of the peak periods for cyber criminals to target business in Australia.
With businesses looking to finalise their accounts and reconcile with suppliers, cyber scammers seize on this increase in commercial activity to launch different criminal exploits.
Email scams are getting harder to spot. Just like people who counterfeit money or luxury goods, scammers copy genuine emails. These emails often:
- Look like they come from the Tax Office with an email domain that makes reference to the ATO such as firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember the ATO domain is @ato.gov.au
- Look real as they contain ATO or myGov logos
- The emails don’t address you by name
- They contain bad grammar, graphics or spelling mistakes
If you receive a scam email like this, do not click on any links, attempt to open the attachment, download any files or applications, as this may install a virus on your computer.
Forward the entire email to ReportEmailFraud@ato.gov.au without changing or adding any additional information and then delete all copies from your email account.
This scam involves cyber criminals pretending to be legitimate suppliers and advising changes to payment details. You may not realise until your business receives complaints from suppliers that payments have not occur.
To mitigate this risk, have checks in place to ensure you pay the right suppliers. Ensure the supplier verifies all major invoices using contact details you already have on record before paying.
These types of cyber-attacks may ask for your business banking details, your tax file number or ABN, which the ATO says it will not request by email. The scams include:
- Tax refund tricks where the scammer will claim you have overpaid your taxes and are eligible for a refund. However, in order for you to receive this refund, they will claim that you need to pay a fee for administration or transfer costs
- Cybercriminals will claim that you’ve underpaid your tax and will need to repay the amount you owe immediately. In order to make this payment, they request your credit or debit card details, or ask you to send money through a money transfer.
The ATO has advised that it is aware of scammers sending pre-recorded messages (that is, robocalls) in record numbers. They manipulate caller identification so that your phone displays an Australian phone number including legitimate ATO numbers despite the call probably coming from overseas. This is known as spoofing.
These pre-recorded calls follow the common approach of scammers threatening immediate arrest for an unpaid tax debt, attempting to keep you on the line until payment is made and requesting payment in unusual methods.
Increase Your Awareness
Keep yourself and your employees one step ahead by being aware of these scams and remember the ATO will not:
- ask you to transfer money into an account with a BSB that is not held with the Reserve Bank of Australia
- ask for payment through unusual methods such as iTunes gift cards or other prepaid cards
- ask you for money in order to receive a refund or other payment
For more information on how we can help keep your business safe from cyber criminals call us on 1300 920 866.