On 20 July the South African Revenue Service (SARS) informed all stakeholders of a new scam and phishing attack. The Alert issued reads:
You need to be aware of email scams, and so we have created a section of the website where we will post updates of any scams we have heard about. Similarly, we would like you to tell us about any emails you think are scams or phishing. To report or to get more information on phishing, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Fraud and Anti-Corruption Hotline on 0800 00 2870.
Members of the public are randomly emailed with false “spoofed” emails made to look as if these emails were sent from SARS but are in fact fraudulent emails aimed at enticing unsuspecting taxpayers to part with personal information such as bank account details. Examples include emails that appear to be from email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org indicating that taxpayers are eligible to receive tax refunds. These emails contain links to false forms and fake websites made to look like the “real thing”, but with the aim of fooling people into entering personal information such as bank account details which the criminals then extract and use fraudulently.
Please note these are scams and SARS taxpayers should take note of the following:
- Do not open or respond to emails from unknown sources.
- Beware of emails that ask for personal, tax, banking and eFiling details (login credentials, passwords, pins, credit/debit card information, etc.).
- SARS will never request your banking details in any communication that you receive via post, email, or SMS. However, for the purpose of telephonic engagement and authentication purposes, SARS will verify your personal details. Importantly, SARS will not send you any hyperlinks to other websites - even those of banks.
- Beware of false SMSes.
- SARS does not send *.htm or *.html attachments.
- SARS will never ask for your credit card details.
Top Tip: In order for a tax practitioner to charge you for their services, they must be registered. You can check here to check whether your tax practitioner is registered with SARS and a Recognised Controlling Body (RCB).
Story by: Riaan de Lange