CURRENT AS AT 14 December 2018
We have received many reports of scams from clients, staff and associates. They seem to be increasing in frequency.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on their Scamwatch website are warning people to be careful about being caught out during the holiday season, when scammers are expected to try to “take advantage of special days and major events to fleece people of their money or personal information”.
They suggest the most common scams to look out for at this time of year are online shopping scams with fake online stores, travel scams with fake holidays, and parcel delivery scams asking you to click on a link in an email or text message to install malware.
The ATO also continue to warn of scams, and have a webpage dedicated to providing alerts on scams in relation to tax matters, such as ATO and tax agent impersonation. A recent and common scam involves the scammer leaving a robo-voicemail message threatening the recipient with arrest due to an unknown tax debt.
The ATO recommend you phone their office on 1800 008 540 if you are in doubt about contact from someone claiming to be from the ATO. Alternatively, if you could ask the caller to contact your tax agent. If they are legitimate, they will call us and we will attend to the matter on your behalf.
Scamwatch offer some suggestions on how to protect yourself from scams. These include
- Be alert to the fact that scams exist, so always consider the possibility that an uninvited approach by phone or email could be a scam.
- Know who you’re dealing with by doing a little research. If a message or email comes from someone you know, but it seems unusual or out of character for them, contact them directly to confirm that it really came from them.
- Don’t open suspicious texts, and don’t click links or attachments in emails.
- Never respond to phone calls about your computer asking for remote access. Scammers often pretend to be from organisations like Telstra or Microsoft, and attempt to convince you to give them access to a computer to “fix an issue they have identified”.
- Keep your personal details secure. Scammers can use information they collect to create a fake identity or to target you with a scam, so keep your mailbox locked, shred bills and other documents, and keep your passwords secure (you might want to use an electronic solution for this, such as Lastpass).
- Review your privacy and security settings on social media.
To help avoid taking calls from known scammers, you could also consider installing an app like hiya on your phone. It’s not perfect, but will often identify and block known scam calls so you don’t need to waste time on them.
THIS NEWSLETTER HAS BEEN PRODUCED BY STANLEY & WILLIAMSON AS A SERVICE TO ITS CLIENTS AND ASSOCIATES. THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THE NEWSLETTER IS OF GENERAL COMMENT ONLY AND IS NOT INTENDED TO BE ADVICE ON ANY PARTICULAR MATTER. BEFORE ACTING ON ANY AREAS CONTAINED IN THIS NEWSLETTER, IT IS IMPERATIVE YOU SEEK SPECIFIC ADVICE RELATING TO YOUR PARTICULAR CIRCUMSTANCES.
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