Tips for avoiding cyber threats this tax season

Tax season can mean an increase of stress for restaurants, cafés, and bars on top of the business-as-usual operations. From handling increased transactions and compliance reporting to preparing for new tax rates, the hospitality industry faces a hectic period.

Unfortunately, cyber criminals are well aware of this and are gearing up to exploit the busy season. Cyber attacks targeting small businesses spike during tax time, making it crucial for hospitality establishments to stay vigilant and take proactive measures to protect themselves.

However, there is help at hand with the free Cyber Wardens training program; offering a comprehensive solution to help safeguard your business from digital threats.

The rising threat of cyber attacks during tax season
Tax season brings an increased risk of cyber attacks for several reasons. First, the sheer volume of transactions and communications can make it harder to spot fraudulent activities.

Second, the urgency of tax-related tasks create opportunities for scammers to manipulate businesses into making hasty decisions. According to research from Cyber Wardens partner CommBank, one in four people have experienced a tax scam, with scammers often impersonating the Australian Tax Office (ATO), MyGov, and financial institutions.

Common cyber threats for hospitality businesses during tax season

  • Phishing scams: Cyber criminals send fraudulent emails or texts pretending to be from legitimate sources like the ATO or financial institutions, tricking recipients into providing sensitive information or clicking malicious links.
  • Fake invoices and refund requests: Scammers send fake invoices or refund requests that appear legitimate, pressuring businesses into making payments or providing personal information.
  • Impersonation attacks: Cyber criminals pose as trusted contacts, such as accountants or suppliers, to deceive businesses into transferring funds or revealing confidential information.

Practical tips to combat cyber threats

1. Stay sceptical and verify communications

  • Be cautious of unsolicited emails, texts, or calls claiming to be from the ATO, MyGov, or financial institutions.
  • Do not click on links or open attachments from unknown or suspicious sources.
  • Verify the legitimacy of any urgent request by contacting the organisation directly using a trusted contact number or website.

2. Strengthen your cyber defences

  • Implement multi-factor authentication for email and business accounts to add an extra layer of security.
  • Regularly update software, apps, and plugins to ensure you have the latest security patches.
  • Use long, unique passphrases for each account and store them securely in a password manager.

3. Double-check invoices and payments

  • Slow down and thoroughly verify every invoice to ensure it matches previous transactions.
  • Confirm the legitimacy of the sender by contacting them directly through a trusted method.
  • Be wary of unusual file types and unexpected payment requests.

4. Educate your staff and family

  • Hold regular discussions about the importance of cyber security and the specific threats during tax season.
  • Encourage employees and family members to double-check any suspicious requests and confirm invoice details directly with suppliers using trusted contact numbers.
  • Assure staff that it’s okay to question unusual requests and confirm with you if they’re unsure.
  • Download the Cyber Wardens EOFY Cyber Security Guide for more tips on how to help protect your business during tax time.

Enrol in the Cyber Wardens training

To bolster your cyber security efforts, enrol in the free Cyber Wardens training program. This self-paced training is designed for small business owners and employees, requiring no advanced IT knowledge. By participating, you can enhance your team’s ability to recognise and respond to cyber threats, ensuring your business remains secure during the busy tax season and beyond.

Start your free course today and protect your hospitality business from digital threats.

It only takes two minutes to enrol for the Cyber Wardens course: