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Watch out for EOFY scams

Read on for a list of the latest ways the scammers are trying to trick seniors come tax time.

End-of-financial-year is not only a time for grabbing a last-minute tax deduction or making a donation to charity. It’s also a time when it pays to be on high-alert for scammers who may be on the prowl.

According to research by Norton Lifelock by Symantec, older Australians are vigilant about monitoring their bank accounts for fraud, checking their bank accounts once a week.

But there can be other ways that seniors are leaving themselves wide open to being preyed upon by cybercriminals. For instance, they may neglect to install security software on their smartphones or send sensitive information over unsecure networks.

“Tax time presents an enticing window of opportunity for cybercriminals with sensitive and personal business documents required for tax purposes being shared and stored across personal and business devices,” says Mark Gorrie, senior director and security expert, ANZ, Norton Lifelock.

One of the most common ways scammers try to trick seniors is by impersonating a trusted organisation such as the Australian Tax Office (ATO).

Scammers impersonating the ATO may target people via email, phone or text.

If you’re not on the alert, their activities can lead to the loss of money or personal data.

Texting dangers

For example, one of the latest ways scammers are targeting people is by text. The scammer texts and asks the person to click on a link and provide personal identifying information to receive a tax refund. According to the ATO, if you click on the link it will take you to a fake tax refund form in order to steal your personal information.

People have also been targeted in a similar way via email.

The ATO does not have an online tax refund form and will never send an email or SMS asking you to access online services via a hyperlink.

It advises people to exercise caution when opening emails or texts purporting to be from the ATO, even if they look genuine.

Stay safe

So how can you can you best protect your money and personal data from scammers at tax time?

  • Be cautious of emails, texts and phone-calls claiming to be representing the ATO.
  • All online management of your tax affairs should be carried out in ATO online services accessed via your genuine myGov account. You can make accessing those services more secure by updating your sign-in options at so you receive a code by SMS when signing in.
  • If you’re not sure about the veracity of any communication purporting to be from the ATO, call the ATO directly on 1800 008 540.
  • Use the security software on your computer and back up regularly.
  • Be sure your computer is fully patched and up-to-date.
  • Look for misleading signals in an email and never open attachments if you are uncertain about the source of the email.
  • Know the status of your tax affairs and your accounts.
  • If you’re filing your taxes online, use a secure Wi-Fi connection or a VPN.
  • Keep print materials secure.
  • Renew your security subscription.