How To Protect Your Identity
Data breaches of major Australian corporations including Medibank, Optus and most recently Latitude Financial have brought to light the high incidence of identity theft and tax return fraud in Australia.
Unsuspecting taxpayers have been left horrified when they have been advised that they have been the victim of identity theft.
What these hackers have been known to do is lodge fraudulent Tax Returns and Business Activity Statements using your tax file number.
In most cases tax payers are only aware when they go to lodge a tax return to find that it has already been lodged or in some cases an amendment has been lodged for multiple years.
The hackers use your details to log into your myGov account and lodge tax returns, tax return amendments and Business Activity Statements.
They change your banking details to their bank account and usually claim extremely large amounts of deductions which results in tax refunds or Business Activity Statement refunds of over $10,000 at a time.
The ATO are usually quick on picking this up and they cancel the returns, but they are not aware that your tax file number or ABN has been compromised - and they can blame the tax payer unless you tell them that it wasn't you and that your tax file number has been compromised.
We suggest that all taxpayers frequently check their myGov account - usually twice a year to make sure that no mysterious or unauthorised tax returns or Business Activity Statements have been lodged.
It is vital that you protect your tax file number.
Never send your tax file number on email, this is the equivalent of sending a postcard to hackers!
The only organisations that require access to your tax file number are: your employer, your financial institution, your private health fund and your tax agent
Protect Your Identity
So how can you protect your identity?
Use strong passwords
Shred your documents
Use public computers with caution
Be careful on social media
Use security software on your computer
Monitor your bank transactions
Request a copy of your credit report
Secure your mail
Information supplied via Money Smart.
If you believe that you have been victim to a data breach and have had your identity stolen please see the following website on what action to take.
As Tax Agents we have an obligation to ensure your identity is safe, we have implemented the following processes in our practice to do so:
100 Point ID Check
This check must be completed prior to any tax return lodgements.
New in office clients will be required to provide 100 points of ID upon presenting for their tax return appointment.
New telephone/online clients must complete an online Identity Check. This 100 point ID check is facilitated by Info Track Pty Ltd - a Government Approved provider. This ID check must be completed prior to their telephone appointment.
For more information on Gateway Service providers please see here.
For more information on the ATO requirements for Tax Agents on client verification please see here.
Document Hub / Client Portal:
All of our clients are signed up to our Document Hub / Client Portal System. This allows us to safely and securely send private documents for viewing and signing via the web to each other. Our Document Hub / Client Portal supplied through Access Sage Handisoft operates within industry best practice high level security, with 128 bit encryption and authenticated digital signatures
Tax File Number Security:
All documents saved and sent by our office have your tax file number blanked out, this ensures that even when you print these out the tax file number is not accessible
Our data is stored securely with an external server with an additional layer of cyber security implemented.
For more information please reach out to us on 07 5502 6673.