Warn­ing over tax re­fund scams do­ing the rounds

Horowhenua Chronicle - - NEWS -

Au­to­matic tax re­funds are com­ing in 2019 and al­ready scam­mers are tak­ing the op­por­tu­nity to trick peo­ple into hand­ing over bank ac­count de­tails.

In­land Rev­enue re­cently sent out emails in­form­ing New Zealan­ders about pro­posed changes that would see au­to­matic tax as­sess­ments and other ini­tia­tives in the big­gest change to the tax sys­tem in a gen­er­a­tion.

Ber­nadette New­man, a cus­tomer seg­ment leader at In­land Rev­enue, says scam­mers are try­ing to take ad­van­tage of the cam­paign.

“We’ve had two ex­am­ples of this just this week — a con­vinc­ing look­ing email but with a cou­ple of im­por­tant de­tails that mark it as fake.

“The email asks you to com­plete the steps be­low to re­lease money owed to you. There’s a link to fill in a form with ad­vice to ‘just fill it in and get your re­turns in or­der now’.

“When you re­ceive an email like this, pur­port­ing to come from IRD, don’t click on it — but use your mouse to hover the web ad­dress and make sure it’s for a real In­land Rev­enue web­site.”

In the past few months, In­land Rev­enue has sent out more than two mil­lion emails as part of its ‘Chang­ing for you’ cam­paign and more will be sent in the new year.

If the pro­posed changes go ahead, au­to­matic tax re­funds can be is­sued to el­i­gi­ble cus­tomers if In­land Rev­enue holds your up-to-date bank ac­count in­for­ma­tion.

This can be up­dated through myIR, the se­cure on­line por­tal, which is pass­word pro­tected.

“You will know you’re in safe hands if you’ve been di­rected to myIR where a valid log-in is re­quired,” says Ber­nadette New­man.

“Un­for­tu­nately, scam­mers and phish­ers will try to take ad­van­tage of the vol­ume of email we’re send­ing and try to ac­cess bank ac­counts and steal peo­ple’s money. It’s im­por­tant to know what a fraud­u­lent email looks like.

“You don’t want your sum­mer hol­i­days ru­ined by a scam­mer so take the time to check your email and delete the fakes.”

In­land Rev­enue will never:

• email you with the amount of your re­fund (only within myIR) or send you an e-mail, knock on your door or phone you promis­ing a tax re­fund.

• ask you to pay money to re­lease a tax re­fund.

• send you an email with a hy­per­link to a web­page that asks you to sub­mit your per­sonal in­for­ma­tion.

• de­mand pay­ments through NZ Post or a gift card.

If you re­ceive a text scam mes­sage or a fraud­u­lent call, please email us at phish­[email protected]ird.govt.nz

■ For more in­for­ma­tion on this: www.ird.govt.nz/iden­tity-se­cu­rity/scam/ scam-alert.html for more tips, how to con­firm or re­port a scam. https://www.net­safe.org.nz/scam-tips/ also has use­ful tips on how to recog­nise a scam.

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