SARS tells taxpayers of new phishing scam

2010-07-05 00:00

PHISHING scams in which criminals pose as officials of the South African Revenue Service (SARS) in order to dupe taxpayers into parting with money and personal or financial information have once again surfaced.

The latest scam, in which “SARS” alerts recipients that it has changed banking details for electronic transfer payments, comes hot on the heels of the launch of 2010/11 tax season on Thursday.

SARS has warned that it expects a surge in phishing scams using bogus e-mails following the launch of filing season.

Anton Fisher of SARS told The Witness that SARS will never ask taxpayers to update their personal or banking details via an e-mail.

“If a taxpayer is due for a refund, SARS deposits the refund into the bank account of the eligible taxpayer automatically,” Fisher said. “Taxpayers are advised to ignore such e-mails or report suspicious incidents to SARS’ anti-corruption hotline at 0800 00 2870 or send an e-mail to phishing@sars.gov.za to report the receipt of such [an] e-mail or to get detailed information on the issues related to phishing.”

The latest scam boasts the SARS and SARS eFiling logos.

The fake e-mail addresses include returns@sars.co.za, return@sars.co.za and refunds@sars.co.za .

Fisher added that taxpayers should also be on the alert for “fake SARS forms, fake websites or SMSes, which inform them of refunds to be paid into their bank accounts, or strange SARS accounts to deposit money into”.

“Rather get any such banking/financial information directly from SARS.”

SARS said on Thursday that the deadline for postal submissions is September 30, 2010, while the deadline for electronic submissions for non-provisional taxpayers and trusts is November 26.

The deadline for provisional taxpayers and trusts is January 31, 2011.

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