26 September 2023

Citizens urged to guard their identity

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Australians are being urged to protect their myGovID and personal information as the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) works with citizens around the country who have been victims of identity crime.

Issuing its warning, the ATO said that in addition to the security features on people’s devices, (such as fingerprint, face or password) myGovID used individuals’ personal information as well as encryption and cryptographic technology to help stop other people impersonating them.

“We know that giving you access to online services is critical,” the ATO said.

“To keep the system safe though, you must protect your myGovID and your personal information,” it said.

“Unfortunately, you are not immune to identity crime.”

The Tax Office said it had been working with a small number of agents recently where they or their clients, or both, had been the victims of identity crime.

It said that in those instances there had been a significant and disruptive impact on the agent and their clients.

“To help ensure you are not the next victim, and to protect your identity from being used fraudulently, follow our top 10 tips,” the ATO said.

It encouraged people to use a personal email address when setting up their myGovID; protect their email address with strong passwords and multifactor authentication; enable built-in security features on their smart devices, such as fingerprint and face ID; and turn on notifications for myGovID.

The ATO also advised customers to check their myGovID setup regularly; protect their identity documents and never store them in email folders; verify additional identity documents to increase the security of their myGovID; not to share their myGovID; report suspected inappropriate access; and stay on top of cyber hygiene.

“Run software updates straight away, keep antivirus software up to date, and always be careful when clicking on links and providing personal identifying information,” the Tax Office said.

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