Tax return season at Inland Revenue often coincides with scam season.
It’s the time of year when we receive the most reports about unscrupulous people trying to pass themselves off as IR employees to trick customers into handing over personal information.
Scammers use a variety of techniques. Some come knocking on your door, others will try to trick you over the phone and more often these days they will approach you on email.
Sometimes the emails can look quite genuine with similar logos and fonts but there are clues you can look out for that give the game away.
Here’s an example from a recent scam that’s been doing the rounds. It tries to entice you to collect a tax refund. What they really want is your personal information.
Look closely and you see some instant warnings signs. The first appears in the email address at the top. This is clearly bogus since Inland Revenue web addresses never appear with that suffix. Legitimate IR addresses finish with ird.govt.nz.
Sometimes scam emails show a refund amount in the subject line of the email. That's a big giveaway of a fraud since we would never email you with the amount of your refund. This is not assessed until you confirm your Personal Tax Summary through myIR.
Here are some more clues that might help you identify a scammer.
Inland Revenue would never:
• send you an email with a hyperlink to a webpage that asks you to submit your personal information
• send you an email, knock on your door or phone you promising a tax refund
• ask you to pay money in order to release a tax refund
• ask you to pay for any tax debt using iTunes cards, or any type of gift voucher
• threaten legal action “out of the blue” unless you immediately take some action to repay a tax debt
• send a representative to your house without a prior appointment. If someone turns up at your house, make sure you check their identification carefully and contact IRD if you are concerned.
We advise anyone concerned that they may have been the victim of a scam to contact Inland Revenue on 0800 227 774 with their IRD number to further discuss the call or email they have received.