With tax time just around the corner, the ATO have advised that the number of email scams reported to them have tripled to almost 11,000, compared to the same quarter last year.

Traditionally, email and phone scams around this time of year are rife – using the looming tax time as a way of tricking people into giving away their personal details such as tax file numbers, banking and credit card information.

If you receive any unsolicited emails or calls claiming to be from the ATO, you need to be wary and NOT give out any personal information. If you do, you may find a scammer using your information fraudulently through identity theft.

The ATO has advised that they will NEVER send you an email requesting you to confirm, update or disclose confidential details like your name, date of birth, address, passwords or credit card details.

Here are some tips from the ATO to help protect your identity:

  • Protect your identity by protecting all your personal details, including your tax file number.
  • Only certain people and organisations can ask for your tax file number. DO NOT provide your tax file number online unless you are certain about the authenticity of the person requesting it.
  • When using social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn be careful about the personal information you publish and customise your security settings to ensure your profile is only accessible to those you trust.
  • Ensure your computer has up to date security software including antivirus, anti-spyware, anti-spam and firewall protection to protect your computer from malicious programs.
  • Enable automatic updates for your computer’s operating system and applications including your web browser to ensure they remain up to date.
  • Use a spam filtering product to help block fake emails or emails containing viruses. If you receive a spam email, delete it and do not open email attachments from unknown sources.

If you think you may have been the victim of a scam, or that your identity has been stolen, contact the ATO immediately by phoning 1800 060 062 (8.00am-6.00pm, Monday to Friday).

Source: ATO