As a small business owner, handling tasks digitally can significantly streamline financial management and record keeping. Unfortunately, where there’s light, there’s dark, with tech-savvy scammers exploiting this convenience. 

The Australian Taxation Office reports impersonation scams are “higher than ever.” Posing as the ATO, malicious individuals target small businesses via email, social media, and mail. 

Whether you’re confident about navigating your tax obligations or still finding your feet, recognising measures you can take to mitigate the effects of tax scams could preserve your business’ vital finances. We’ve curated a list of best practices to help you avoid tax scams. 

  1. Confirm Your myGov Communication Preferences

Understanding how the ATO or myGov portal will communicate enables you to disregard messages outside of the agreed mediums. Confirming your communication preferences means the ATO will send electronic messages directly to your myGov account or by mail.

MyGov might send a text or email notifying you of unread correspondence but won’t ask you to take further action. Unsolicited messages promoting you to make a payment or visit another site are likely false.

  1. Cross-Reference Your Portal and Messages

If you receive messages outside your communication preferences, such as via social media, telephone calls, or email, consider logging into your myGov account to review the communication history. All correspondence sent to you will be recorded here.

Cross-reference the date and topics of letters or messages to what’s recorded in the myGov account. Discard communications that don’t align with your portal.

  1. Avoid Links on Messages

Avoid clicking links attached to messages, especially those on SMS, social media, and spam emails. These links could direct you to a false, high-risk site containing viruses, trojans, and malware. Similarly, don’t download software from unsecure websites posing as tax agents or tax software providers, as this could seize control of your device. 

Always log into your myGov portal or other government accounts using the official process through their direct website. Also, ensure you’ve downloaded modern anti-virus and firewall protective measures. 

  1. Never Provide Information Over the Phone

Cold callers often impersonate the ATO, requesting you send finances or share confidential information, such as bank details or login data. They phish for private data with the following excuses:

  • You can pay your tax bill early
  • You’ve paid insufficient tax and need to provide greater funds
  • You’re due a refund
  • You need to enter your myGov account
  • Your tax bill is late, or payment was unsuccessful

Government offices and banking institutions rarely communicate via email and will stick to mail or portal messaging. They won’t ask you to share private information, such as your credit card numbers or passwords. If someone requests this information, hang up and contact the organisation directly.

  1. Report Scams to the ATO

If you’ve been exposed to a scammer, reporting it to the ATO and your bank can help these reputable figures spread awareness. You can report tax scams via the ATO website. Informing your bank can improve protection over large transactions with enhanced authentication, preserving your finances.

  1. Work with Professional Accountants

Our reliable accountants and advisors are certified in their field, meaning you can focus on other essential areas of your business without concerns over your information’s safety. Contact us at Advisory One to handle taxes with ease and mitigate the risk of scams.