Home ScamsPhishing Scams Vodafone Tax Refund Phishing Scam

Vodafone Tax Refund Phishing Scam

by Brett M. Christensen

Outline

Email purporting to be from phone service provider Vodafone claims that recipients are eligible to receive a tax refund and should click a link to access an online refund form.

Brief Analysis

The email is not from Vodafone and – hardly surprisingly – promises of a tax refund are false. The email is a phishing scam designed to trick users into divulging personal and financial information. As scams go, this attempt is rather bizarre. It is unclear why scammers would choose to use a phone service provider as the supposed sender of a tax refund notification. But, in any case, users should not click on any links or open any attachments in these emails.

Example

Subject: Vodafone Tax Refund!

After the last bill payment calculations of your Vodafone activity our Customer Care Service
have determined that you are eligible to receive a tax refund of 18.60 AUD.

Please submit the tax refund request and allow us 1-3 days in order to process it.
In order for us to return the excess payment, we need to confirm a few extra details
after which the funds will be credited to your specified bank account.

To access the form for your tax refund, click on the link below.

[Link Removed]

Note: A refund can be delayed a variety of reasons, for example submitting invalid records
or applying after deadline.

Vodafone Hutchison Australia Pty Ltd
2012 Vodafone Hutchison Australia Pty Limited. ABN 76 096 304 620
Registered in England No 1833679.

 

Detailed Analysis

Since April 2013, users have reported receiving emails purporting to be from Vodafone Australia that claim recipients are eligible for an unexpected tax refund. The messages claim that users can receive a tax refund of $18.60 by clicking a link and filling in an online form.

Surprise, surprise, the email is not from Vodafone and users certainly are not going to receive a tax refund by following the link. The email is a phishing attempt designed to fool users into submitting their personal and financial information to cybercriminals. Those who fall for the ruse and click the link will be taken to a bogus web page that hosts a form like the one shown in the following screenshot:

Vodafone Tax Refund Scam

Alas, all of the sensitive information input on the bogus form can be collected by criminals and used to commit credit card fraud and identity theft.
Bizarrely, as the following example reveals, the text of the scam closely mirrors the classic ATO Tax Refund scam that has targeted Australian taxpayers for several year:

After the last annual calculations of your fiscal activity we have discovered that you are eligible to receive a tax refund of $302.19 AUD. Kindly complete the tax refund request and allow 6-9 working days to process it.

A refund can be delayed for a variety of reasons. For example submitting invalid records or applying after the deadline.

To access the form for your tax refund, please visit:
[link removed]

Vodafone Australia warned customers about this scam attempt back in April 2013 noting that it “does not send emails asking for confidential information such as credit card details or account passwords”. However, recent submissions indicate that the scam emails are still being distributed. If you receive one of these emails, do not click on any links or open any attachments that it contains. Note also that Vodafone customers are currently being targeted in other phishing campaigns, including one that claims that they must verify account details due to a system upgrade.

Importance Notice

After 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 You

I 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 Date

Hoax-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!

Brett Christensen,
Hoax-Slayer