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Tax refunds being stolen... is it true?

Discussion in 'Accounting & Tax' started by Gockie, 21st Nov, 2015.

  1. Gockie

    Gockie I'm an ISTP-A female, so I might be a bit quirky! Premium Member

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  2. Bargain Hunter

    Bargain Hunter Well-Known Member

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    Seems the web just makes it easier for everyone except the honest folk.
     
  3. Nick Valsamis

    Nick Valsamis Well-Known Member

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    They should be able to implement account name verification direct from banks before processing the payment which will stop this problem.
     
  4. Gockie

    Gockie I'm an ISTP-A female, so I might be a bit quirky! Premium Member

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    But my tax agent usually puts their details in the account details section, and they pay me after they deduct their charges, so your suggestion might need a lot of exceptions/a lot of rules. Possible though...
     
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  5. Nick Valsamis

    Nick Valsamis Well-Known Member

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    For that they could have a list of approved tax agent accounts that bypass the check.
    Otherwise paying direct to the client and then paying your tax agent is not much of a problem, it's just 1 bill for the client to pay once a year.
     
  6. Perthguy

    Perthguy Well-Known Member

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    Nope. The whole point with identity theft is that someone or a group of people steal identities. Once they do that they can fake the 100 points of id required to open a bank account in a particular person's name. Then they lodge a fake tax return and have the refund sent to the legitimately set up account that the real person knows nothing about.

    Here are some real life examples of some things that have happened to people who have had their identities stolen...

    One person found there were loans, credit cards and savings accounts all set up in their name.

    Another had her identity stolen and her phone cloned. She froze her accounts and notified her phone provider that her phone has been cloned and instructed them to lock her account. The hackers used her cloned phone to unlock her phone account, make changes and then unfreeze her accounts. Phone companies and banks do not handle identity theft well.

    They don't do themselves any favours in this regard either. I applied for a nab credit card online and it was posted to my residential address pre-identity verified and pre-activated.

    I have also had banks refuse to post loan docs to a po box. So they have been left on my door step all day, in plain view of the street. It's like an identity thief starter kit left in a public place. Stupidity.
     
  7. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    That's one of the reasons we have a PO box.
     
  8. Perthguy

    Perthguy Well-Known Member

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    I have a po box. The banks refused to post my loan docs there for "security" reasons. Apparently it is more "secure" to leave sensitive documents in plain view of the street. :rolleyes:
     
  9. wylie

    wylie Moderator Staff Member

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    Why are you surprised? We are taking about "banks"... so many stories I could tell (and have told) about some of the things banks get wrong :rolleyes:.
     
  10. Gockie

    Gockie I'm an ISTP-A female, so I might be a bit quirky! Premium Member

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    Ta guys and gals... I'm going to mention this practice (of the PO Box problem) at work at our weekly Monday morning huddle...
     
  11. Perthguy

    Perthguy Well-Known Member

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    I am not surprised. I just see a link between the bank's stupid behaviour and identity theft.

    That would be great! I think it is really bad policy to leave a complete set of loan docs on someone's door step in plain view of the street.
     
  12. Nick Valsamis

    Nick Valsamis Well-Known Member

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    Ok since the banks don't verify IDs then, they can hold and return payments from the ATO if the account doesn't have genuine transactions for a period of 3-6 months. Many things the banks can do to make it much harder for fraud.
     
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  13. wylie

    wylie Moderator Staff Member

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    I should have put a smiley face after my "why are you not surprised?" comment :D.

    Honestly, I would be surprised if the bank doesn't stuff me around every time I have contact with them. :p:D
     
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  14. Propagate

    Propagate Well-Known Member

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    PO Box's - we got one as our mail was being stolen from our letter box. Rather than swap all addresses to the PO Box number and also to avoid the hassle of banks/companies/whatever not delivering to a PO Box number, all we do is have a recurring 12 month re-direction set up with the Post Office. All mail gets automatically re-directed from the house address to the PO Box, no need to do anything else and just keep using your regular residential address for all your mail & docs. Costs a couple of hundred buck a year for both a box and re-direction but worth every cent not to come home and find your birthday cards and presents strewn all the way down the street!!!

    Only thing it doesn't work with is some banks/soli's will use a courier for docs instead of Aus Post so the re-direct won't catch that.
     
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  15. Gockie

    Gockie I'm an ISTP-A female, so I might be a bit quirky! Premium Member

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    Hi Perthguy... which bank was refusing to send the documents to a PO Box?
     
  16. Paul@PFI

    Paul@PFI Tax Accounting + SMSF Business Member

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    The concern about tax refund fraud is a real issue that all tax agents are aware of (or should be !!). One of the limitations of EFT processes is that no bank or payer can check the bona fides of a BSB and account number. The receiving bank and ATO does NOT check it either. There is not a bank process to safeguard an account belongs to the intended recipient. Provided a BSB and account no are valid the payment will process as cleared funds exposing a fraud risk. Most modern frauds rely on this inherent weakness. It is essential that changes to this account are safeguarded to prevent this occurring. That said, the ATO do have some stringent checks which can leave a refund unpaid if their systems detect a risk. This may include a new agent or a self lodger with a address change, changes to the account and a unexpected large refund.

    Of course if a tax agent staff member were to change such a matter for fraud their mandatory PI may cover it. They would also not be a tax agent for long.

    Any taxpayer who has a concern about identity fraud or ID being compromised can call the ATO on 1800467033. The ATO no longer cancel TFNs but will implement some very stringent measures to lock your account from tampering. The precise measures are not discussed but do prevent certain things from being changed which may facilitate a fraud. This includes an inability to change tax agents without YOUR express authority and an inability for even the tax agent to change bank details. I have a few of these clients and it creates a few complications but its workable. In a few cases I can not access their information and have to use different methods.

    The ATO will require a digital voice ID. Its a simple process ONCE your ID is validated.
     
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  17. Perthguy

    Perthguy Well-Known Member

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    AMP and ING. But it's the solicitors really I think. Perpetual and Gadens.
     
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  18. Gockie

    Gockie I'm an ISTP-A female, so I might be a bit quirky! Premium Member

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    Ahhh... thanks Perthguy.