The Australian Tax Office (ATO) has revealed that 23,300 Australians had their tax file number compromised in the 2012 financial year, up from 22,000 the previous year.
In an effort to combat the rise in identity fraud and compromised returns, the ATO has embarked on an intensive audit campaign when processing this year’s tax returns. “The delay in many tax refunds is because they have to go and do some manual checking to see whether it is a valid refund…” CPA’s head of taxation Paul Drum has said.
Mr Drum went on to explain that traditional identity theft seems to be on the decline as internet use grows. “We think a lot of it is by computer hacking over the Internet – that people are tricked into provided them [TFNs] when they didn’t have to provide them” he said.
While the ATO has a range of tools at their disposal to help combat identity theft, including data matching tools, data mining and fraud models, the security of personal details truly rests with each individual person.
Unfortunately, as society’s reliance on technology continues to grow, online scams are becoming more and more common. We should all be constantly wary about online fraud; if you receive a piece of communication that seems suspicious, stop and don’t enter your details.
At Etax Accountants, we take your privacy and security very seriously. We’ve even created an online privacy and safety page which you can visit for an in-depth look at protecting yourself online.