Top tax time tips for cyber safety

Tax time is a headache for most of us, but to a cybercriminal, it’s like Christmas in July. This is due to the large amount of personal and financial information being shared by Australians. Follow these tips to stay safe this tax season.

1. Stay vigilant to ATO impersonation scams

Many cybercriminals try to impersonate the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to convince you to provide personal and financial information. While the ATO may contact you via phone, email, text or mail, they will never ask you to provide your tax file number (TFN) or financial details. Nor will they use hostile and urgent language or threaten you with jail time or fine increases. Should you receive a fine, you can check its legitimacy by logging into your ATO or MyGov account directly. For more information, the ATO website offers a page on how to identify and report scams.

2. Validate communications by contacting the ATO directly

Cybercriminals will almost always try to create a sense of urgency. Patience pays. If you receive a communication that makes you even a little bit suspicious, take down the information and call the official ATO office number to validate it. If you think it's fraudulent, report it by sending an email to

3. Install comprehensive antivirus software

Antivirus software adds an extra layer of security to your device and provides real-time protection against cyber attacks. To help keep you safe, ACU provides Sophos antivirus to staff free of charge for use on up to 10 personal devices (Mac and Windows). Be proactive this tax time and ensure you are protected with antivirus software.

4. Look for signs of phishing

Phishing is the most common type of cyber attack. Refer to our phishing article to learn how to identify a phishing scam. Never open an attachment or link if you don’t recognise the sender or if the content seems out of the ordinary for them to send.

5. Use secure Wi-Fi when filing taxes

Public Wi-Fi is unsecure. Given the sensitivity of the information you are providing when filing your taxes, using a secure network is essential. If you are unable to connect to a secure/private network, tether to your phone or wait until you can connect to one.

Bonus tip for tweeters: Be careful what personal information you share on social media

Before you share anything on social media, ask yourself if this is really something you want people to see. Cyber criminals can use all sorts of personal information to impersonate you to gain access to your accounts.

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