Safeguard your business against scams

During the busy tax season, scammers increase their activities to try to catch you off-guard.

It’s important to protect both you and your business by being aware and putting strong measures in place to safeguard your information.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has just launched a new Protect your small business page on their SCAMwatch website. This page provides relevant information for small businesses about common scams they should be aware of and tips on how to protect their business.

Examples of common scams

Scammers have a number of ways to try and access your personal information, for example:

1. emailing from fake accounts

2. fake websites

3. fake phone calls or text messages

4. false job ads.

Be wary, sophisticated scams can appear as though they are from legitimate businesses or potential clients.

Protect yourself

These golden rules can help guard you from falling into the traps of scammers:

1. If you discover a scam, report it and warn your friends and colleagues.

2. If it seems too good to be true, be wary. Look closely at the information in front of you and research the company who contacted you before giving them your personal information.

3. Keeping your books, income, purchase orders and expenses up-to-date will make it easier for you to check if something doesn’t seem quite right.

4. Wait for payments to clear before providing refunds for goods or services.

5. Don’t provide any personal, business or banking details to anybody you don't know or trust.

6. Invest in secure and well-established computer virus and malware protection. Make sure you keep your software up-to-date and perform regular scans.

Tax related scams

The tax season is often accompained by an increase in the number of scammers pretending to be from the Australian Tax Office (ATO). They will try to trick consumers into providing their private details.

A recent scam involves scammers using emails to lure people to a website and asking them to provide personal details or to download malicious software that will collect their personal information. The emails often include terms such as:

1. refund notification

2. tax refund

3. e-tax.

The ATO advises those who receives such emails to:

1. refrain from clicking on any links in the email

2. forward the email to reportemailfraud@ato.gov.au

3. delete the email.

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