Be Warned – The Scammers are still Rife!

A man refusing to accept a brown envelope from another person, with small business accounting documents visible on the table in front of them.

Accountants in Sydney: Heightened Vigilance Against Scammers

We have covered this topic in past editions of S & W Insight, but it remains persistent, necessitating further discussion. Numerous clients have informed us of being targeted by scammers, and despite changing methods, the objective remains identical- to defraud individuals of their money. This issue emphasises the need for caution and vigilance among accountants in Sydney when dealing with suspicious individuals.

You need to be aware of the type of scams happening. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) warns people of the different scams around on their Scamwatch website ( As sad as this is, the latest are scams trying to take advantage of the current COVID-19 crisis by various means. Details of the scams are on the ACCC website above.

Also, you must be aware of the online shopping scams around this time of year. Fake websites, stores or sellers are standard, so you must be vigilant in dealing with a reputable supplier.

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) also continues to warn of scams and has a webpage dedicated to providing alerts on scams in relation to tax matters, such as ATO and tax agent impersonation. A recent and common scam involves sending you a text mentioning a refund sitting on your tax account and requesting you to click on the link and update your details so the refund can be transferred to your bank account. This is not how the ATO work, so please do not follow any instructions given by text.

The ATO recommend you phone their office on 1800 008 540 if you are in doubt about contact from someone claiming to be from the ATO. Alternatively, you could ask the caller to contact your tax agent. If they are legitimate, they will call us, and we will attend to the matter on your behalf.

Scamwatch provides valuable recommendations on safeguarding oneself against scams, offering a range of preventive measures and precautions. These suggestions aim to empower individuals with the knowledge and awareness necessary to protect themselves. Some of these proactive steps to mitigate the risk of falling victim to scams include:

  • Be alert to the fact that scams exist, so always consider the possibility that an uninvited approach by phone or email could be a scam.
  • Know who you’re dealing with by doing a little research. If a message or email comes from someone you know, but it seems unusual or out of character for them, contact them directly to confirm that it came from them.
  • Don’t open suspicious texts or click links or attachments in emails.
  • Never respond to phone calls about your computer asking for remote access. Scammers often pretend to be from organisations like Telstra or Microsoft and attempt to convince you to give them access to a computer to “fix an issue they have identified”.
  • Keep your personal details secure. Scammers can use the information they collect to create a fake identity or to target you with a scam, so keep your mailbox locked, shred bills and other documents, and keep your passwords secure (you might want to use an electronic solution for this, such as LastPass).
  • Review your privacy and security settings on social media.

In summary, be vigilant and be aware that scammers are rife.

Kreston Stanley Williamson Team

*Correct as of May 2020

*Disclaimer – this article has been produced by Kreston Stanley Williamson as a service to its clients and associates. The information contained in the article is of general comment only and is not intended to be advice on any particular matter. Before acting on any areas in this article, you must seek specific advice relating to your particular circumstances. Liability is limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.

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