With tax fraud on the rise, it is important to protect yourself from fraudulent activities during the tax filing season. In many cases, people have had no idea that tax fraud has happened until their tax return becomes rejected or they receive a notification from the ATO. Let’s ensure that doesn’t happen to you! Being mindful about your safety can prevent problems involving tax fraud, as well as online theft and other criminal offenses. To ensure your safety against potential tax fraud, you need to be aware of the methods that scammers use to phish your personal and financial information. In this article, we’ve listed some of the most common fraud practices and tips to help you avoid them: Phishing Texts, Calls, and Emails One of the most common methods used by cybercriminals to obtain another’s personal and financial information is through phishing. Phishing is a type of fraudulent activity where victims are contacted through text, phone calls or email by someone who is pretending to be a representative from a legitimate institution. Once victims respond to these attempts, they will then be lured to provide their sensitive data such as their personally identifiable information and other financial data, including credit card information and passwords. Fraudsters usually pull this off by acting as a representative whose job is to verify personal information for security purposes. To counter such phishing attempts, you can take advantage of the latest security software updates available in your current computer operating system. With the use of firewalls and anti-spam programs, securing your private information stored in your device is made easier. If you receive any suspicious and unprecedented emails or calls, it is recommended to verify their legitimacy before responding. Typically, government institutions will not call you on the phone and ask for your information to verify the existing data in your file. Moreover, government agencies typically warn individuals not to share personal information to prevent fraudulent actions. Fake Billing Notifications Scammers can also send fake billing notifications to business companies and make them pay false invoices online. This online invoice scam has been active for years and the number of victims is growing to this day, despite warnings from the official establishments. Therefore, it is important to be mindful about the billing statements and invoices that you receive on a regular basis. It is recommended to examine each and ensure that your payment is directed into the right account. Moreover, scammers can take advantage of your busy work routine to distract you from paying close attention to your billing responsibilities. Thus, it is crucial to remain attentive when it comes to fulfilling your financial obligations to avoid any unwarranted transactions. Updated security software and operating systems will still come in handy in terms of protecting your private information. Also, if you feel wrong about the invoice that you received, don’t hesitate to confirm the details to avoid getting scammed. In cases like these, it is recommended to keep previous and paid billings so you can use these to compare and verify the billings you are receiving. What You Can Do If you have become a victim of tax fraud, there are several actions you can take to protect your money and personal information. As soon as you realise that your sensitive information has been compromised, make sure to report it to the police, as well as to the ATO. Moreover, you should change all of your passwords and set a two-factor authentication to secure your information. If the scammer was able to obtain your financial data, contact the bank and place a hold on your credit and debit accounts immediately. If you own a business and are worried about tax fraud, it is advisable to communicate the situation directly to the ATO. While the majority of Australians are cautious and protect their personal information, with the advance of technology, tax fraud is becoming easier to commit. Therefore, it is important to know how to protect yourself from becoming a victim to scams this tax season Conclusion At Knox Taxation and Business Advisory, we will be happy to share our expertise to take the stress away from you during tax season. Our team of tax agents in Melbourne CBD can provide you with advice and helpful information to help you manage your tax responsibilities and protect you from becoming a victim of tax fraud.