ATO and Centrelink scams are on the rise, which is why everyone needs to know how to protect themselves. When most people think of scams on the internet, they usually envision poorly worded emails with obvious mistakes and oddities. The problem is that scammers are getting much better at what they do. Many have adapted and become more sophisticated in how they operate their scams. It’s much harder to tell the difference between a scam and the real thing these days, which is why everyone must be vigilant.
Even Government Agencies Are Not Safe
Government agencies and the people they serve have also become targets for scammers. Many use these agencies as a shield to help them convince unsuspecting victims to provide personal information. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) along with Centrelink and other social security agencies are often used as a smoke screen to allow the scammer to ply their trade.
Many will design an email that looks official. They send it off with attachments or a link to a fake invoice. When the user downloads the attachment or clicks the link, their computer may be infected with viruses, malware, or spyware. From there, scammers can skim off their personal information without the victim noticing until it is too late.
This happens all year round, but it tends to be more common around the holidays and tax time when people are busy, and the scam is more likely to be overlooked.
What to Do If You Have Been Scammed
If you suspect that you have been scammed, it’s important to take action immediately. Contact your bank and inform them of the situation in case of fraudulent withdraws. Clean your computer to ensure that any infected files are removed and change passwords. Get in touch with the ATO as soon as possible to verify claims and advise them of the fraudulent activity.
The longer thieves get away with identity theft, the more damage they can do to your professional, personal, and financial life. Make sure you act quickly and contact the necessary parties and change passwords or accounts as needed.
5 Tips to Avoid Phishing Attacks
The best protection is to take preventative measures to avoid falling victim to an email phishing scam. The following tips can help you protect yourself from phishing attacks and other fraudulent activity:
- Never use a link provided in an email to visit an outside website like your bank.
- Make sure your computer has up-to-date security in place to help stop scams before you have a chance to click on them.
- Read the email thoroughly to look for oddities and verify the sender to ensure it is authentic.
- Regularly monitor bank accounts and other important accounts to look for unauthorised access or use.
- If you are unsure about an email or link, don’t open it!
A professional can help you keep track of your finances to make monitoring for scams easier. Contact Brian at Bis Cosgrove to learn more about how to protect your assets and keep track of changes in your finances.