Staying safe online at tax time

Tax time is a prime time for criminals trying to get their hands on personal details and money. Most people will expect some interaction with the ATO at tax time; scammers can take advantage of this by pretending to be ATO employees.

These are the top 10 ways to stay safe online at tax time:

1. Login to MyGov to check tax messages
MyGov is where most communication from the ATO will take place. The MyGov website offers a high level of security and safety for users.

2. Turn on the security code for your MyGov account
You should have a complex and unique password for your MyGov account, you can set up an extra layer of security in MyGov. 

3. Keep your personal details private
Don’t give out your TFN, date of birth or bank account details unless you know that you are providing them to an authorised representative of the ATO, your tax agent or bank. The ATO will never ask for your personal identifying information in order for you to receive a tax refund.

4. Think first, then click
The ATO will never send you an email or text message with a link directing you to a login page. You should always navigate to login pages manually by typing the web address in the address bar.

5. Tax debt cannot be paid with iTunes, gift cards or Bitcoin
The ATO will never ask you to pay a tax debt with iTunes cards, gift cards or Bitcoin. If a tax debt is owed, the ATO will work with you to provide payment options.

6. Be smart on social media
Be aware of what you share on social media, make sure your privacy settings are set so that only your friends can see your details, and never provide your TFN on social media.

7. Wi-fi safety
When you’re connected to public wi-fi, it’s ok to check the news or weather but you shouldn’t conduct any financial transactions. These public networks are not secure so it’s easier for criminals to steal information.

8. Keep your phone and computer secure and up-to-date.
Use reputable anti-virus software to run virus scans and keep your devices safe. If a security upgrade notification becomes available, install the update as soon as you’re able.

9. Keep business information safe at tax time
The same tips listed above apply for employees and business owners. Stay smart online when at work and at home.  

10. Check it out 
If you are unsure whether an ATO communication is real, don’t reply, or hang up. Call the ATO on 1800 008 540 or visit www.ato.gov.au/scams to check.
 
If you think you have been the victim of a financial scam, please get in touch with us as soon as possible on 1300 368 555.
 
There are many great resources online that will provide you with information about how to stay safe from scammers. Check out the Stay Smart Online and Moneysmart websites for more information and resources.

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