I would like to share a story that shows the important role tax agents can play in protecting our clients from identity theft and fraud, through our knowledge and understanding of our clients’ situation.
As part of our regular review process of all of our clients’ accounts with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), one of our team identified some unusual activity taking place on a client’s tax account. It appeared that someone had tried to lodge an amended tax return for one of our clients, requesting a significant tax refund. The changes that appeared to be underway did not make sense given our understanding of the client’s tax situation.
Having checked that our client had not initiated this action, my colleague called ATO to flag our concerns that this was unauthorised activity.
It transpired that someone had accessed the client’s ATO account and had managed to provide sufficient identification to ATO lodge an amended return. The same person, or perhaps an accomplice had changed the client’s registered bank details and contact details with ATO – so that the refund due on the amended return would get directed to their own bank account. (The matter is currently being investigated by ATO’s anti-fraud team).
Fortunately, due to my colleague’s quick action the ATO have locked-down the client’s account to prevent any loss to him, less than 6 days from the initial contact to the ATO. Needless to say, the client was extremely grateful for the skill, care and attention of my team member.
As Tax Agents, we don’t just prepare your tax returns each year – keeping us aware of changes in your life and finances allows us to proactively protect you