Be Vigilant - SARS warns of an influx in phishing attempts
SARS has reported on an influx of phishing attempts by fraudsters impersonating SARS. This has resulted in taxpayers unwittingly providing them with personal information which is used to defraud both the taxpayer and SARS.
The most common method of communication is via email which may contain links that a person is required to open. The links are commonly marked as “Outstanding Debt”, “Final Demand” or anything that will compel a person to click on the link. These links may contain trojans which fraudsters will use to gain access to your device in order to steal personal information from you.
Fraudsters may also attempt to contact a person via phone calls, text messages and messaging services such as WhatsApp.
What information do the fraudsters want?
Fraudsters want your identity number, telephone number, physical address, email address, income tax and VAT numbers, bank account details and financial statements.
Why do the fraudsters want a person’s information?
Depending on the amount of information the fraudsters manage to obtain, they may use the information for, amongst others:
- Gaining access to your eFiling profile in order to change banking details and mobile phone numbers to divert refunds to another account and to ensure OTPs are received on the mobile phones only they have access to;
- The information provided to the fraudsters may also be used to register you as a taxpayer with SARS through which false tax returns are submitted to generate refunds from SARS;
- The information gained can be used for other financial transactions such as obtaining loans or buying items on credit - for which you will be liable;
- The fraudsters can also use the information to open bank accounts using your information to channel money obtained through fraud to themselves.
How to remain vigilant
- If you receive an email which claims to be from SARS, check the email address - it must end with “....@sars.gov.za”.
- Do not contact persons offering their services on social media platform if they ask you to contact them via WhatsApp direct message or phone only. Should you have any tax related enquires contact SARS directly or make use of a registered tax practitioner.
- Do not open any email, SMS or messaging links which you cannot confirm originated from SARS.
Should you receive a suspicious email, do not open any links in it and forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Legal Tax Consultant PKF Durban
No information provided herein may in any way be construed as legal and/or tax advice. Professional advice should be sought with reference to specific background facts before any action is taken based on the information contained herein. We hereby disclaim any responsibility should any person act upon the contents of this publication without due consultation.
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