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South Africans Targeted With Tax-themed Scam Emails

Fraudalert.co.za reported on 3rd July, 2015 stated that as South Africans gear up to file their taxes, the first round of phishing notifications are already compelling them to be very careful.

Fraudalert.co.za published a warning on 3rd July, 2015 by Lesedi Seforo, Team Leader of SARS Operations of the South African Institute of Tax Professionals (Sait), as "Tax season becomes open season for cyber crooks."

Seforo said that scams and phishing attacks have unluckily become increasingly commonplace in electronic world these days."

South African Revenue Service (SARS), Tax regulator in South Africa, said that taxpayers are more and more filing their returns with the aid of e-filing which makes them an easy target for cybercriminals.

One taxpayer Jacky G (name changed) had received many fake emails soon after e-filing. He alerted authorities to whom Seforo responded by advising taxpayers to be on highly cautious at all hours of scams and phishing campaigns.

Fraudalert.co.za reported on 3rd July, 2015 quoting Jacky G as saying "I just received many emails about e-filing and when these guys tried to help me to open savings account online, I realized that it was a scam."

Members of public have received false "spoofed" emails which look that these emails were sent by SARS but actually, these are fraudulent emails meant to tempt innocent taxpayers to disclose their personal information like bank details. For example, emails which seem to be sent by returns@sars.co.za or refunds@sars.co.za notify that tax payers are eligible to receive tax refunds. These emails contain links to fake forms and websites which look like "genuine thing" with intention of tricking people in disclosing personal information like details of bank account which crooks extract later and then use illegally.

SARS advises taxpayers to enquire about such emails before taking any step and they should report to phishing@sars.gov.za about phishing. They can call up Fraud and Anti-Corruption Hotline on 0800 00 2870 or SARS Contact Center on 0800 00 7277.

Moreover, SARS is not the only taxing agency in the world which has requested taxpayers to be careful about tax-themed scam emails because HMRC, taxing body of UK, has also issued similar advice to its taxpayers.

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