Online scams

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. You could also 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.

The ACCC's Scamwatch website provides information about the domain name renewal scam on its False billing webpage. Do your homework 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...

Thanks for your feedback. If you have any ideas on how we can improve, we'd love to hear them.

Please provide your comments in the feedback form.

You might also be interested in