The Canberra Times

50 Plus Lifestyle and LivingAdvertising Feature

Be vigilant: watch out for tax scamsAdvertising Feature

As scammers get more sophisticated, it can be harder to tell what's real. Photo: Shutterstock

From callers impersonating the Australian Tax Office (ATO) to text messages and emails about bogus tax debts, there are several scams that the ATO warns the public about every year.

Scammers are constantly developing new ways to target the community.

- ATO Assistant Commissioner Tim Loh

As scammers get more sophisticated, it can be harder to tell what's real and what is not.

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) Scam Watch website keeps a running tally of all reported scams.

Already in 2022, there have been 72,253 scams reported between January and April, totalling $204,270,937 lost.

Phishing (fake emails that look to be from a legitimate company or organisation) make up 30.8 per cent of the reported scams, followed by online shopping (8.76 per cent) and false billing scams (7.85 per cent).

This year, there is a new type of scam the ATO urges us to be aware of: fake TFN/ABN application scams.

These scammers often advertise on social media platforms and offer to provide tax file numbers (TFN) and Australian business numbers (ABN) for a fee.

Unsuspecting victims click on the ads and are taken to the scammer's website, where they provide payment information.

From there, scammers can steal personal information as well as the money handed over to purchase the TFN or ABN.

With this in mind, ATO Assistant Commissioner Tim Loh encouraged everyone to be vigilant during the lead up to tax time.

"Scammers are constantly developing new ways to target the community, and we expect to see more of these malicious attempts to steal identity details in the lead up to tax time," Mr Low said.

It's important to remember that applying for a TFN and ABN is free through the ATO and Australian Business Register.

In addition to TFN/ABN scams, more than 50,000 people reported ATO impersonation scams in 2021, with victims losing a total of more than $800,000, according to the ATO.

"We are encouraging everyone to be on alert and take the time to remind family and friends to be on the lookout and stay safe online, so you don't fall victim to a scam this tax time," Mr Low said.

The ATO website has plenty of tips, tricks and information to help people spot scams and avoid falling victim this tax time.

These tips include knowing your tax affairs, guarding your personal information, and relying on trusted services and websites such as myGov for information and to make payments.

If you receive a text message, phone call or email that looks and sounds suspicious, the ATO recommends not engaging and phoning the ATO's dedicated scam line on 1800 008 540.

Live your life and love your age!Advertising Feature

Cincotta Discount Chemist in Dickson offers a range of health services including vaccinations, blood pressure checks, Medication Management Reviews and assistance for those living with Obstructive Sleep Apnoea. Photo: Supplied

Cincotta Discount Chemist Dickson is here to help you live your life and love your age!

They offer a variety of health services from blood pressure checks to flu vaccines to ensure that their patients are provided the best care in Canberra.

"Stop by for one of our comprehensive blood pressure checks where our pharmacists can help you to monitor and manage your blood pressure," owner and pharmacist of Cincotta Dickson, Rhonda Warne said.

"We take the time to talk you through your results and provide advice on simple lifestyle changes that may assist you with improving your overall health and wellbeing."

Cincotta Discount Chemist also offer Medication Management Reviews, which are a great asset to anyone that would like to learn more about their medicines.

It can be particularly helpful to those recently discharged from hospital, or anyone taking five or more medications.

The review is conducted with one of their friendly pharmacists and takes approximately 45 minutes.

During the consultation, the pharmacist will take you through your medications providing you detailed information on:

  • What each medication is for
  • How they should be taken
  • How they should be stored and
  • How they can affect other medical conditions.

The pharmacy also offers advice and assistance for those living with Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA).

"Our partnership with CPAP NSW, Australia's most trusted name in sleep apnoea, enables us to deliver unmatched care to our patients, ensuring they have access to the right equipment to sleep comfortably through the night," Rhonda said.

At Cincotta Chemist Dickson, they offer all your vaccinations in one place. From the flu shot, protecting against the influenza virus, to the whooping cough vaccine, defending you from the contagious respiratory infection that causes severe, uncontrollable coughing that can make it hard to breathe.

Whooping cough can affect anyone, however, those over 65 years of age who have not had a booster within the past 10 years are at a higher risk, along with babies under six months.

Don't forget, the pharmacy also offers the COVID-19 vaccination if you haven't yet received your booster!

"Our pharmacists create strong relationships with their patients because we know that the stronger the pharmacist patient relationship, the better the health outcomes that can be expected," Rhonda said.

Join Cincotta Rewards next time you're in-store to stay in the know about all their health services and the latest promotions. Plus, earn points on all eligible purchases to redeem in-store!

Visit the pharmacy at 42 Dickson Place, or ring 6247 7944 to find out more about their health services.

"We'll do the work so you can live your life and love your age!"

One of the secrets to healthy ageingAdvertising Feature

NextSense cochlear implant recipient Paul (above). A free information session will be held on June 29. Photo: Supplied

One in every three people will have hearing loss by the age of 65.

Those who experience it often have to put more of an effort into understanding what others are saying.

Symptoms can creep up, almost unnoticed. People with hearing loss often think others are mumbling or not speaking clearly.

Studies show hearing loss can be associated with social withdrawal, depression, and anxiety while being an independent risk factor for dementia.

But many people with hearing loss don't know the options available to them, so increasing awareness is important.

They often don't realise cochlear implants may be an option. Even though adults are the largest group affected by hearing loss, only 10 per cent of adults who could be helped by cochlear implants currently access them.

NextSense Canberra audiologist Rachel Middleton says adults often can't believe the improvement in their hearing after having a cochlear implant and what a difference it makes.

Rachel works with adults and children, conducting hearing assessments and cochlear implant mapping.

"So many adults tell me 'I can't believe I didn't do this sooner'," she says.

"The most rewarding part of my job is seeing my clients achieve their goals, whether it's in leaps and bounds, or tiny steps."

NextSense delivers Australia's most comprehensive cochlear implant program, with services ranging from initial assessment, right through to lifelong care.

They've supported more than 5000 people, from newborns to people over 90 years of age, to access a better world of sound.

The cochlear implant team includes educators, speech pathologists, surgeons and audiologists like Rachel.

"It's really lovely to be a part of that team that supports people with this aspect of their life - their hearing," Rachel says.

"Your hearing is so important, and it makes such an enormous difference to every aspect of your life."

If you wear hearing aids and are still finding it difficult to hear your grandchildren's voices or hear over the phone and in crowded places, you may benefit from a cochlear implant.

Implant surgery and NextSense support services are covered by Medicare and some private health insurers, which means there are little to no out-of-pocket costs.

Fully bulk-billed appointments are available with a referral from an audiologist or GP.

Free local information sessions in Deakin

NextSense runs free 'Discover Hearing Implant' information sessions in Deakin, to provide an overview of hearing implants - how they work, how they are different from a hearing aid and what the experience is like from someone with a cochlear implant.

If you are interested in learning more, NextSense is holding their next event on Wednesday, June 29 from 10am-noon.

For more information on this or to register, visit the comprehensive website by going to nextsense.org.au/dhi/canberra.