We have recently received a number of calls from clients who have received an email purportedly from the IRD advising them that they are due a tax refund (the fact that a new tax year has recently commenced may have lead to an increase in these types of emails). These emails are a scam and should be ignored and deleted.
Our January 2011 newsletter identified two common scams one involving receiving notification of IRD refunds via email and another involving online banking. In case you missed it in January, here it is again…
Tax Refund Email Scams
We have received a number of queries from clients relating to emails received by them telling them that they are owed money from a tax refund. These emails are scams and should be ignored.
The scams typically claim that the email recipient is due a tax refund before asking them to click on various links and asking them to provide personal details including their IRD number and credit card details.
The IRD has issued a statement confirming that they would never ask for personal information to be sent to them by email. The IRD have also confirmed that they would never send emails offering people refunds.
The best course of action to take, should you receive an email offering a tax refund, is to ignore it. The Ministry of Consumer Affairs recommends not to respond to these emails, don’t email back and don’t click on any links.
The IRD recommends that if someone has given their details to people behind the hoax they should contact the IRD on 0800 227 774. Suspicious emails offering a tax refund should be reported to email@example.com.
If you wandered whether these types of scams ever meet with success The New Zealand Herald recently reported that a Southland woman was scammed out of $32,000 relating to a tax refund hoax.
Online Banking Scam
In addition to the tax refund email scam we have recently become aware of another scam involving online banking. In this instance our client received an email which appeared to come from his bank asking him to click on a link and provide his internet banking password and sign-on details.
A few days after providing these details he received a call from his bank to say that payments totaling $21,000 had been made from his account and asking him were these authorised payments, they weren’t of course. In this instance, to the relief of our client, the bank was able to put a stop to the payments and the funds were recovered.
As stated above the best course of action to take, should you receive a hoax email of this type is to ignore it, don’t respond, don’t email back and don’t click on any links and don’t provide password and account details.