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SARS Releases Fake E-mail Scam Warning

The SA Revenue Service (SARS) has released a warning for taxpayers to exercise cautions against a steady rise in e-mail scams asking for personal details from people. The SARS said on July 4, 2010 that it had received reports from people complaining that they had got fake SARS refund notifications.

Commenting on the problem, the security experts said that the tax season had started from July 1, 2010 and new fake e-mails already making rounds on the Internet.

The typical fake SARS e-mail contains text that after the upgradation of systems to fight against external and internal fraud, the organization has come across the e-mail recipient records and investigated his payment and tax returns to show that the recipient is eligible for receiving tax refund of 5650.63 ZAR.

The e-mail contains a link on which user is asked to click on. When the user clicks on the link, he is directed to a website that seems like "the real thing" and asks for personal details.

Besides, other scam e-mails contain web links that have close resemblance with the e-filing page. This page asks for credit card and bank account details along with PIN numbers.

Majority of e-mails have SARS letter head titled as "tax refund notification." The addresses of the fake e-mails are refunds@sars.co.za and returns@sars.co.za.

Commenting on the problem, the security experts said that different example of e-mails indicated to a consistent increase in scam e-mails and phishing assaults that targeted the SARS brand.

Siba Mfabe, a SA Revenue Service Spokesperson, said that the organization believed that this scam would concurrently run with the period of tax filing. There were several e-mails sent to the taxpayers to pilfer funds from their pockets, as reported by LONG WALK SINCE FREEDOM on July 4, 2010.

Hence, users are requested that they should not open or respond to e-mail coming from unknown sources. They should remain cautious of e-mails that ask for personal details because SARS does not ask for personal information from taxpayers.

Besides, users should avoid clicking on the links provided in the e-mails as they might contain malware, Trojan, computer virus to infect PC. They should manually enter the web address in the browser instead of following any web link.

Related article: Surge in Spam attack

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