Early release of superannuation applications were paused last Friday after the ATO and the Australian Federal Police were made aware of identity fraud that saw 150 people affected.
Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar said the ATO had identified a “small number of third parties” who could be susceptible to criminal activity, including new techniques to steal Australians’ personal identities.
ATO commissioner Chris Jordan had earlier told a Senate inquiry that tax agents’ systems might have been compromised as part of the fraud.
“When we get this higher level of sophistication [of fraud], it doesn’t tend to be a breach against us or our systems; it is others who have the information that we use to verify people and that information is in the hands of other people, including agents,” Mr Jordan said.
Mr Sukkar said the ATO was now working with these third parties to help them make security enhancements and has warned Australians not to share their myGov details with anyone.
“Australians should never share their myGov log-in with anyone, including their tax agent, and be wary of emails or text messages that request personal information. The ATO will never send taxpayers a direct link to log on to their online services,” Mr Sukkar said.
“The ATO has extensive integrity measures in place to protect the tax and superannuation systems from fraud, including identity fraud.
“It was these measures which have helped the ATO detect a small amount of fraudulent activity, which is under active investigation by the Australian Federal Police.”
More than 1.2 million Australians have since applied to access their superannuation early for a total value of over $10 billion.
Jotham Lian is the editor of Accountants Daily, the leading source of breaking news, analysis and insight for Australian accounting professionals.
Before joining the team in 2017, Jotham wrote for a range of national mastheads including the Sydney Morning Herald, and Channel NewsAsia.