Business Links Australia Pty. Ltd. is a CPA Practice
CPA Australia Logo
Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation
Hot Issues
spacer
Strategies to handle scam phone calls and problem e-mails.
spacer
Instant asset write-off threshold upped to $25k
spacer
Jail time for GST fraud
spacer
Correcting GST Errors
spacer
Fuel tax credit rates raised
spacer
ATO set to contact clients for overdue TPAR
spacer
Reminder on Victoria Property Duties
spacer
How Australia is performing.
spacer
Global outlook summary: Down but not out
spacer
Bookkeepers remind on incoming TPRS obligations
spacer
Golden Rules for Deductions
spacer
How's Australia going - vital statistics?
spacer
Tax, SMEs set to be ‘political football’ in 2019 as election nears
spacer
Cap lifted on popular financing option for clients
spacer
Expiry of 900,000 interest-only loans set for January
spacer
Australian Taxation Office (ATO) Scam Alert: Fake Demands for Tax Payments
spacer
Tax Office sounds alarm on popular property strategy
spacer
Our Advent calendar for 2018
spacer
‘Please do not panic’: ATO boss addresses STP concerns
spacer
Stop!! Don't do a paper Budget, use our online budgeting tools instead.
spacer
Employee Christmas Parties and Gifts – Any FBT?
spacer
Behavioural Coaching and your financial plans
spacer
FBT – Christmas Parties and Taxi Fares
spacer
Information needed to be the BBQ expert.
spacer
Tax consequences of trust vesting
spacer
Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT): employees’ private use of vehicles
spacer
ATO to contact clients over bank details
spacer
ATO claws back $850m in unpaid SG in FY 17-18
Article archive
spacer
Quarter 4 October - December 2018
spacer
Quarter 3 July - September 2018
spacer
Quarter 2 April - June 2018
spacer
Quarter 1 January - March 2018
spacer
Quarter 4 October - December 2017
spacer
Quarter 3 July - September 2017
spacer
Quarter 2 April - June 2017
spacer
Quarter 1 January - March 2017
spacer
Quarter 4 October - December 2016
spacer
Quarter 3 July - September 2016
spacer
Quarter 2 April - June 2016
spacer
Quarter 1 January - March 2016
spacer
Quarter 4 October - December 2015
spacer
Quarter 3 July - September 2015
spacer
Quarter 2 April - June 2015
spacer
Quarter 1 January - March 2015
spacer
Quarter 4 October - December 2014
Quarter 2 of, 2017 archive
spacer
‘Bank-like heists’ make way for new wave of cyber crime
spacer
ATO reports on key contraventions for 2016-17
spacer
ATO, mid-tiers warn on common expenses myths
spacer
SMSF trustees told to take action on contributions
spacer
Higher instant asset write-off threshold for small business extended
spacer
Australian population figures
spacer
New data points to spiralling retirement costs
spacer
Personal insolvency numbers spike across Australia
spacer
ATO cracking down on taxable fringe benefits
spacer
Intangible capital improvements made to a pre-CGT asset
spacer
The three core pillars of this year's budget
spacer
Federal Budget - 2017-18 - Overview
spacer
Does your business import or export goods and services?
spacer
Federal Budget - 2017-18 - Budget documents
spacer
When does an asset cost less than $20,000? Depreciating assets: composite items
spacer
ATO finalises guidance for capped defined income streams
spacer
Warning on trap with trust deed updates
spacer
2011 Census - what was the make up of your area?
spacer
It’s no secret that Australians have some of the largest houses in the world.
spacer
Resources on our site to help you and your family.
spacer
ATO defends approach to SG compliance
spacer
Essential steps for SMSF clients before 30 June
spacer
New tax incentives for early stage investors
spacer
FBT Reminder – Odometer Reading
spacer
ATO on 'aggressive' debt recovery hunt
spacer
More ATO downtime looms ahead of tax time
spacer
Tax debt release applications refused
spacer
Troublesome tax system overhaul picks up speed
spacer
Government to ‘put to bed’ uncertainties with TRIS
spacer
Travel expense and transport of bulky tools claim denied
spacer
New law sheds light on global tax issues
spacer
Report tips housing price spikes to wipe out super savings
Strategies to handle scam phone calls and problem e-mails.

       

 

Many people have received telephone calls, recorded messages and e-mails from scammers claiming to be from organisations such as the ATO, Australia Post and Telstra saying money is owed, asking for personal information or access to their computer. One recorded message supposedly from the ATO informs you ‘you have committed tax fraud and a warrant is out for your arrest’! Another very popular scam is to say that there is a problem with your internet or a security flaw in your computer’s firewall or similar.

Why do scammers succeed?

Unfortunately, the main reason is the person receiving the call or e-mail.  Scammers are trained in looking for signs of hesitancy or weakness and when they sense this they are merciless.  The real problem is that the scammers know well the topics that will attract or scare people into action: monies owed, a big win, a technical issue, or to help someone. 

Scammers are paid based on their success and they are highly trained in keeping people engaged and on the line. 

Phone calls.

You need to be strong if you’re to avoid being caught out and the simplest way to do this is ask who they work for, what is their phone number, say you’re not interested and hang up. Or, call them out and say they are ‘a scam call’, then they often hang up on you.  Phone scammers are inventive and some are ‘Phone spoofing’, this is when someone disguises the number they are calling or texting from by changing their caller ID. They hijack or imitate phone numbers, either to imitate a person, business or department to get money or information. They often choose interstate numbers so you do not immediately know you are answering an overseas call centre or potential scam call.

The best strategy though, is not to let them talk for more than a few seconds, and hang up. Hang up too soon or and they will keep ringing you back!

Major organisations will never ring up and ask for access to your computer or threaten that a warrant is out for your arrest. If a demand is made that relates to the ATO then call your accountant to make sure if ATO debts are owed and when.

E-mail scams & viruses

Common scam emails currently doing the rounds are invoices from companies that either do not exist or scam emails from organisations like ‘Australia Post’ (you have a package being delivered) or ‘ASIC’ (you have a tax debt).  We may suspect they are fraudulent but too many of us still respond.

The compulsion to open that invoice or attachment is strong.  Remember, everyone's e-mail address may be on scammers' lists so you will be exposed. 

A second, and dangerous risk, from such e-mails is that they can have infected attachments and links that can do real damage to you, your computer, your business’s computer network and your files.  Ransom ware is still out there.

Three things that help with scam, spam and malicious e-mails.

  1. Simply delete them but some businesses and corporations use e-mail to save costs for statements and invoices and other information, so you have to be vigilant not to delete these by mistake. 
     
  2. This is your best defence and relates to the sender’s e-mail address.  It is NOT possible for a scammer to use the exact same domain name as, say, the ATO or AFP.  HOWEVER, they are getting very close.  When you receive an e-mail, ALWAYS check the URL address it came from before reading or clicking - specifically the part after the @ sign. You will notice that many after the @ sign are simply ridiculous, but you will also receive some that have the supposed sender in the address, for example @ato.zzz.net.au.  Always remember that the ATO bit is part of the zzz.net.au domain (the spammer) and NOT the ATO's domain.  If in doubt contact the business or organisation by phone or a known email address to confirm email content.
     
  3. The Subject line.  There is a field of marketing that focuses on how to get people to react to a Subject line.  So, reacting quickly to a subject line about a fine from the ATO is exactly what the scammer is hoping for.  A subject line like this can make you click on part of the content or attachment before you think of reading or checking the sender’s address.

 

Peter Graham
AcctWeb, an ISP and domain hosting company for over 20 years.