ATO increases security on superannuation early access scheme
May 18, 2020
The Australian Tax Office (ATO) has enhanced its security measures for the superannuation early access scheme to protect super fund holders from fraudulent activity.
The ATO resumed processing applications for early access to super this week after a small number of people had had their personal details unlawfully used to defraud the program.
The Australia Federal Police feared up to 150 people had lost $120,000 through fraud, according to media reports.
The early access to super program allows people who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic to access some of their super to help make it through the economic downturn.
To date, more than 1.2 million Australians have applied to access their super early, accounting for more than $10 billion.
In early May, tax commissioner Chris Jordan confirmed that some limited fraudulent activity had been identified and immediately acted upon.
“I would remind all Australians to be vigilant in keeping their personal information secure and private,” he told the federal government’s COVID-19 select committee.
Federal assistant treasurer Michael Sukkar said the ATO was enhancing its systems in response to criminals using new techniques to try to steal Australians’ identities.
He said the ATO had applied additional risk filters to all files before they were delivered to funds, as well as providing further information to funds to assist in fraud prevention.
The ATO said it had not been hacked and its online systems had not been compromised.
The ATO said the victims had been contacted, and the Australian Federal Police was investigating the cases.
Australians have been urged against sharing their myGov log-in details with anyone, including their tax agent.
People should be wary of emails or text messages that request personal information. People were also reminded that the ATO would never send taxpayers a direct link to log on to their online services.
Eligible people can apply to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in 2019–20, and up to a further $10,000 in 2020–21.
Applications can be submitted online through myGov until June 30, 2020 for the 2019–20 year, and between July 1, 2020 and September 24, 2020, for the 2020–21 year.