- Public Liability
- Professional Indemnity
- Business Insurance
- Help & Info
- The Official Stuff
- About BizCover
- Quote me
It’s that time of the year again! Tax time is unfortunately not just a busy time for small businesses, but it is the prime time for prowling cyber criminals to attack. This is due to an increase in personal details being exchanged online and the ever-increasing sophistication of hackers and their methods of getting their hands on personal data.
The figures reveal a scary insight. The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Scamwatch website received 56,531 reports for ‘Attempts to gain your personal information’ during 2017, resulting in $5 977 877 lost.
For most of us, we mainly communicate digitally making it no surprise that emails and phone messages were identified as two of the most common channels that spammers use to gain access to personal information. So how do you get cyber-savvy and spot a scam?
Tax time, more like Christmas time for scammers. It’s when valuable pieces of personal and business information (like names, date of birth, tax file number, bank details, BAS statements etc.) are often required from trusted authorities – in particular, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), accountants and tax agents.
Scammers are getting more creative, crafting look-a-like official emails and impersonating official representatives via phone calls, SMS and voicemails. Here are some of the tell-tale signs to keep an eye out for, when trying to spot a scam (Stay Smart Online, 2018):
Phishing emails: Keep an out for emails that pretend to be from a trusted entity like the ATO. These emails usually will ask you to fill out a form or click on a link which then enables the scammers to infect your computer with a virus and malware. This is one of the popular ways a scammer will try and steal your identity and money.
Tax refund scam: A scammer may contact you advising that you have overpaid your tax and that you are entitled to a tax refund. The scammer may then ask for financial details or request you pay an administration fee via an electronic transfer.
Tax owed scams: A scammer may claim that you have underpaid your tax and required to repay the debt. They may ask you to purchase a pre-paid debit card which they will then ask for the details of so they can access the money.
You may be wondering why small businesses are a prime target? Why don’t they just go after the big fish? The reality is, small businesses are viewed as soft targets and make up for 60% of reported cyber-attacks in Australia. Below are some of the reasons why small businesses are in the sights of cybercriminals:
Be a step ahead of the game by making sure your business is educated, aware of the different scams and cyber risks that are out there, and that you have a solid cyber-security strategy in place. The ACCC provides regular updates about scams which may be circulating and are a good resource for staying in the know. In addition, the ATO also lists the latest scam alerts in which they are being impersonated by scammers.
As they say, prevention is better than cure, and that’s where Cyber Liability insurance can be a valuable tool in protecting your business.
Cyber Liability is designed to cover your business against the expenses and legal costs associated with data breaches that may occur after being hacked, or from the theft or loss of valuable client information. A potential breach could occur from something as simple as accidentally leaving your laptop in a taxi where it can end up in the wrong hands.
No matter how careful your business may be in preventing a scam, it, unfortunately, can still happen. These are some of the key government bodies you can report an incident to:
ACCC Scamwatch website provides an online form to report the crime through https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/report-a-scam
The ATO provides information on current scams involving the ATO, how to verify and report an ATO impersonation scam: https://www.ato.gov.au/general/online-services/identity-security/verify-or-report-a-scam/
Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN) is a secure reporting and referral service for cybercrime and any online incidents which could be in breach of the law: https://report.acorn.gov.au/
The impact of falling victim to a scam or cyber attack can have a devastating impact on a business, especially if the financial capacity isn’t there to recover from the incident. Don’t let cyber criminals scam their way into your small business this tax time, start protecting your business today.