The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has warned of a new email scam targeting taxpayers in South Africa.
SARS said that criminals are emailing unsuspecting South Africans, saying that a letter of demand requires their attention.
The email then tells them to click on a link to open the letter of demand, often leading the taxpayer to a dodgy site with the goal of getting personal information.
Emails impersonating companies or authoritative government bodies fall under a category of scams called phishing scams.
These are fraudulent attempts to obtain sensitive information, such as passwords and credit card details, through fake emails, text messages or websites.
SARS has warned taxpayers to ignore these emails and not click on any links. “If in doubt, please send an email to [email protected],” it said.
Throughout the past few years, the revenue service has recorded 330 new types of scams – the majority following a similar modus operandi as phishing.
With rampant scams on the loose, SARS has established a webpage to share updates about new scams that exploit its name for fraudulent purposes to help people stay informed and avoid falling victim.
To best protect themselves from such scams, SARS noted that taxpayers should be aware 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 SMSs.
- SARS does not send *.htm or *.html attachments.
- SARS will never ask for your credit card details.
The tax authority provided the following example: