SMEs warned to beware of tax related phishing scams

6 July, 2010

Sophisticated phishing attacks which promise to increase the value of tax returns are hitting Australian businesses. Security firm Symantec is warning SMEs that these scams appear to come from the Australian Tax Office and that they should be vigilant when checking emails.

The emails will often promote early tax returns or  request that small businesses update their tax details. To make them look authentic the scammers often utilise official ATO graphics, fonts and other visual elements from real ATO emails.

According to Symantec small businesses are specifically being targeted because they are more likely to have  inadequate security. Many SMEs don't have IT departments and lack the technology needed to screen these emails.

Symantec suggests the best way to be on guard against phishing emails is to know that you're not going to get any sort of solicitation from the tax office directly - you should always be suspicious. In addition, they recommend SME owners inform their staff about these emails because prevention is always better than cure.

SMEs should not open anything unless they know it's specifically from the ATO and have confirmed the correspondence is genuine. As well, they should make sure their filtering software is up to date and check their service level agreement with their provider to make sure they are being blocked from everything.

 

 

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