11 February 2013

South Africa: Warning to Taxpayers On Scams

press release

South African Revenue Service (SARS) would like to warn Taxpayers about an increase in scams which use the SARS name or logo.

There is a steady increase in email scams and phishing attacks in which the SARS brand is being abused. 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 tax payers to part with personal information such as bank account details.

Examples include emails that appear to be from returns@sars.co.za, or refunds@sars.co.za indicating that tax payers are eligible to receive tax refunds. These emails contain links to false forms and false websites made to look like the "real thing", but with the objective 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 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) as SARS will never ask taxpayers for such information in an email.
  • SARS will not request your banking details over the phone, or via email or websites.

The current scams include:

22 January 2013 - Phishing scam - Fake email with the subject title 'Your payment from SARS' with a link in the email and the wording 'You have an important message from SARS eFiling'.

22 January 2013 - Phishing scam - Fake email with the subject title 'Your payment from SARS' with a link to select your bank and the wording 'R9,414.70 has been paid to you from SARS e-filing. In other to process and confirm select your financial institution to deposit tour funds.'

22 January 2013 - Phishing scam - Fake email with the subject title 'Your payment from SARS' and the wording 'Dear Taxpayer, Accept your refund here from the Refund Section.'

7 January 2013 - Phishing scam - fake email from ABSA informing email recipient of money paid into their account and asking to the recipient to login into a phishing website to verify information.

Taxpayers who are concerned about emails or sms messages claiming to be from SARS should:

  • Visit the SARS website (http://www.sars.gov.za/home.asp?pid=42736),
  • E-mail phishing@sars.gov.za,
  • Call the Fraud and Anti-Corruption Hotline on 0800 00 2870, or
  • Call the SARS Contact Centre on 0800 00 7277

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