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Tips to secure your business’ identity

Each year, nearly one million Australians fall victim to identity theft. Unfortunately, individuals aren’t the only ones who are affected by these crimes, even businesses find themselves being scammed.

Criminals have learnt that by stealing an unsuspecting business’ information, they can impersonate the business and commit various crimes such as making false GST claims, acquiring loans or purchasing goods under the business’ name.

It takes considerable time and effort for a victim to restore their identity, sort out financial arrangements and report to relevant government agencies and financial institutions. Extra measures should be taken to protect yourself and your business from identity theft.

What can you do to prevent identity theft?

  • Ensure that your business files are secured. Install firewall protection and keep your anti-virus software up-to-date to prevent any suspicious programs and emails from affecting your computer systems.
  • Also, ensure that your business’ AUSkey is kept safe.
  • Shred documents that are for disposal; especially those containing sensitive details about your business (TFN, bank account numbers, etc.).
  • Be careful who you share your business’ information with. Remind your staff to not give any details if they receive an email or call from banks or other organisations. The ATO has repeatedly said that they will never ask any details via an unsecure channel like email. Confirm with the organisation in question if they are really asking about your details before disclosing any.
  • Regularly check if someone has registered under your ABN (click here to look up your ABN). Also, review your credit report to ensure that nobody is using your business name to borrow money.
  • Remind your staff to log-out from bank websites or other online systems after use and lock computers when they are not in use.
  • Notify government agencies, such as the ATO of the individuals who have permission to access your business’ records.

It’s important that you lodge a report immediately with the authorities if you suspect that your identity or your business is compromised.

written by:

Prior to forming McKinley Plowman, Nigel specialised in management consulting and international accounting, enjoying success in Australia and in the United Kingdom. His extensive experience in management consulting, international accounting and innovative tax structures has been a major driver in the success of McKinley Plowman as well as the many businesses he has steered towards new levels. Nigel is dedicated to fast-tracking his client goals with cutting edge tax and business strategies. He is a member of the CPAs and the Taxation Institute of Australia and enjoys developing tax strategies that work well here and around the world.

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