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15 Oct 2020 ATO News

ATO cyber security resources for tax professionals

The ATO has partnered with the Australian Cyber Security Centre to develop some resources to assist businesses and tax professionals with improving their cyber security.

The authorisation tax professionals have to access valuable and personal information on behalf of their clients makes them attractive targets for cybercriminals. The following resources provide some simple steps you can take today to protect yourself online.

ATO cyber safety checklist

During this time of heightened scam activity, individuals and businesses are encouraged to:

  1. use multi-factor authentication where possible and don’t share your password with anyone
  2. run the latest software updates to ensure operating systems security is current
  3. secure your private Wi-Fi network with passwords (not the default password) and do not make financial transactions when using public Wi-Fi networks. 
  4. exercise caution when clicking on links and providing personal identifying information.
  5. only access online government services via an independent search – not via emails or SMS.
  6. call us on an independently sourced number to verify an interaction if in doubt
  7. educate your staff on cyber safety and scams.

To report a data breach or scam visit ato.gov.au/onlinesecurity 

ATO Security Advice for tax professionals

Criminals may target your practice to access your information and that of your clients. It is essential to review your security procedures from time to time. They may also use your business to lodge fraudulent statements on their behalf.

The ATO recommends you:

  1. check the proof of identity for all new clients and question any discrepancies
  2. only lodge for clients whose identity you have confirmed
  3. ensure your computer security systems are up to date and protected against cyber attacks
  4. discuss the importance of securing personal information with your staff
  5. ensure your staff understand what is appropriate to discuss on social media or via email.

Complete an online security self-assessment here.

Video resources on cyber security 

The ATO has also released a series of short videos on scams, online security and identity protection:

Scam alerts

Check for the latest tax-related scam alerts. Be wary of emails, phone calls and text messages claiming to be from the ATO. Verify a scam online or phone the ATO on 1800 008 540.

Read more here

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