According to this email, which claims to be from New Zealand’s Inland Revenue, you are eligible to receive a tax refund from 2019.
Supposedly, Inland Revenue tried to send you the refund automatically but was unable to do so because it does not have your records on file.
The email urges you to get out your credit or debit card, click a link, and follow the on-screen instructions.
However, the email is not from Inland Revenue and the claim that you can click a link to get an unexpected tax refund is untrue.
Instead, it is a phishing scam designed to steal your personal and financial information.
If you click the link, you will be taken to a fraudulent website that has been built to emulate the genuine New Zealand Inland Revenue website. Once on the fake site, you will be instructed to complete a “Claim Refund” form, ostensibly so that your refund can be processed and sent to your account.
The fake form will ask for your name and address details along with other identifying personal information. It will also ask you to supply your credit card details. When you hit the submit button on the fake form, you may then see a message claiming that your refund will now be sent to your bank account. You may then be automatically redirected to the genuine Inland Revenue website.
Meanwhile, online crooks can nab the details you supplied and use them to commit fraudulent transactions with your credit card and steal your identity.
Tax refund phishing scams are very common and have been around for many years. They regularly target taxpayers in several countries, including Australia, the US, the UK, South Africa, and India.
Be wary of any unsolicited email that claims that you are eligible for an unexpected tax refund and should click a link to claim it. Your country’s tax department is very unlikely to send you a generic message that does not even greet you with your full name and asks you to provide sensitive information via a link or attachment.
Moreover, if you were really eligible for a refund, tax departments the world over already have your details on file and would not need to send you a dodgy email.
If you receive such an email or SMS, do not follow any links or open any attachments that it contains. If in doubt, log in to your taxation account by entering the address into your browsers address bar or contact your tax department directly.
Inland Revenue has information about identifying and reporting phishing scams on its website.
A screenshot of the scam email:
Transcript of the scam email:
You are eligible to receive a refund of $176.25 NZD.
You have tax returns for period ending 28 April 2019 to 25 May 2019, now available for refund!
Remember: We tried to send it to you automatically but were unable to do so as we don’t have your details on file. This email has been sent to [email address remmoved] as it has been registered with Inland Revenue.
-have your credit/debit card ready
-open the application in your browser
-follow the instructions on your screen
The Customer Services Team
Importance NoticeAfter considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.
These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.
Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.
And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.
When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.
I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.
A Big Thank YouI would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.
I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.
Closing DateHoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.
Thank you, one and all!