Running an online business can come with its share of risks - using the internet can open your business up to being targeted by scammers from anywhere in the world. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources online to help you out.
Learn to recognise common online scams to avoid getting caught out. These can include:
- taxation scams - scammers can disguise themselves as government agencies, such as the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), to trick you into revealing details such as your tax file number (TFN) over the internet.
- online transaction scams - including auction or shopping scams, spam offers, online banking or credit card scams, or spyware
- internet domain name scams.
Internet domain name scams
These scams target businesses with websites by promising to renew or secure their domain name (or web address) before another business claims it. Business owners could be sent a legitimate-looking email or invoice with payment details for this service.
Under this scam you'll be sent either an unsolicited invoice or email for an internet domain name registration usually very similar to your own business domain name, or you'll be sent a renewal notice for your actual domain name. The notice could be from a business that supplies domain names trying to trick you into signing up to their service or it could be from a scammer trying to take your money.
Do your homework about the domain name renewal scam to avoid being caught out.
How to protect your business from internet scams
The ATO's tips for recognising and avoiding tax-related scams and fraud include:
- report emails that offer tax refunds in exchange for entering personal information
- report emails which inform you that you owe the ATO money or your account is in arrears and you will be taken to court
- always use ATO's online services by visiting the ATO website
- make sure you keep your tax file number (TFN) and passwords secure.
Find out more...
- Read Fair trading for more on scams targeting small business.
- Check the ATO's Online security webpage for the latest updates on ATO related scams.
- Visit SCAMwatch's Small business scams page for more information on scams targeting small business owners, and learn how to protect yourself from scammers.
- Download the ACCC's Small business scams fact sheet for free.
- Find recently reported scams via the SCAMwatch radar, or register for free SCAMwatch email alerts to your inbox.
- Get the facts about securing your business online from Stay Smart Online.
- Read The Little Black Book of Scams, published by the ACCC, to learn more about popular scams and tips to avoid them, and visit the ACCC's Avoiding scams webpage.
- Report a scam to SCAMwatch online or by calling the SCAMwatch ACCC Infocentre hotline on 1300 795 995.