Beware this banking scam saying SARS owes you tax money

 ·30 May 2021

Standard Bank has warned against an email scam calling for ‘users’ validate their details on a fraudulent site. The scam involves a fake notification from the South African Revenue Service, informing the recipient of a pending payment from the revenue service.

The email comes at a time when tax return season is almost upon us: As of July 1, South Africans can complete their tax returns for the year to the end of February 2021 and, hopefully, claim some money back from SARS.

The fraudulent email claims to be from ‘[email protected]’.

Dear user

‘You have 1 new pending incoming Payment from SARS . Click Here To accept the payment immediately’

‘Note: Registered phone number or Email address we have on our record must be verified by One-Time-PIN to validate your details.’

Standard Bank stressed that the e-mail is not from the bank.

“Kindly be advised that a generic e-mail is sent out by fraudsters to many e-mail addresses. Fraudsters hope that some clients will not question the validity of the e-mail and try to log into their fake website, thus providing syndicates with their Internet Banking logon details,” it said.

Types of scams to avoid

New types of scams continue to emerge in which fraudsters lure you into providing confidential info – often via email, SMS, phone call, malware or remote access, Standard Bank said. Anyone can be a target. “Ultimately, it’s up to you to stay informed about scams and think twice before sharing your personal details online or over the phone,” it said.

It could be a scam if:

  • What you are offered or promised sounds too good to be true
  • The offer takes you by surprise, or the prize relates to a competition you never entered
  • You’re given limited time to confirm your details or win the prize, catching you off guard
  • You receive the information via a free email address (like Hotmail, Aim, Yahoo or Gmail)
  • You are promised large sums of money for very little or no effort on your part
  • You’re asked to provide money upfront, for whatever reason, to receive the money or prize
  • You’re asked to confirm personal or account details via a hyperlink, icon or attachment in an email or over the phone

Similarly, SARS has also this month warned against potential scams. “You need to be aware of email scams, and so we’ve 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,” it said.

To report or to get more information on phishing, please send an email to [email protected] 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, SARS said.

Examples include emails that appear to be from [email protected] or [email protected] 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.

These are scams and SARS called on taxpayers to 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.

Read: The 6 most common investment scams in South Africa: FNB

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