Be prepared for refund scams
Automatic tax refunds are coming in 2019 and already scammers are taking the opportunity to trick people into handing over bank account details.
Inland Revenue recently sent out e-mails informing New Zealanders about proposed changes that would see automatic tax assessments and other initiatives in the biggest change to the tax system in a generation.
Bernadette Newman, a customer segment leader at Inland Revenue, says scammers are trying to take advantage of the campaign.
“We’ve had two examples of this just this week – a convincing looking e-mail but with a couple of important details that mark it as fake.
“The e-mail asks you to complete the steps below to release money owed to you. There’s a link to fill in a form with advice to ‘just fill it in and get your returns in order now’.
“When you receive an e-mail like this, purporting to come from IRD, don’t click on it – but use your mouse to hover the web address and make sure it’s for a real Inland Revenue website.”
In the past few months, Inland Revenue has sent out more than two million e-mails as part of its ‘Changing for you’ campaign and more will be sent in the new year.
If the proposed changes go ahead, automatic tax refunds can be issued to eligible customers if Inland Revenue holds your up-to-date bank account information. This can be updated through myIR, the secure online portal, which is password protected.
“You will know you’re in safe hands if you’ve been directed to myIR where a valid log-in is required,” says Bernadette Newman.
“Unfortunately, scammers and phishers will try to take advantage of the volume of e-mail we’re sending and try to access bank accounts and steal people’s money. It’s important to know what a fraudulent e-mail looks like.
“You don’t want your summer holidays ruined by a scammer so take the time to check your e-mail and delete the fakes.”
Inland Revenue will never:
• email you with the amount of your refund (only within myIR) or send you an e-mail, knock on your door or phone you promising a tax refund.
• ask you to pay money to release a tax refund.
• send you an email with a hyperlink to a webpage that asks you to submit your personal information.
• demand payments through NZ Post or a gift card.
If you receive a text scam message or a fraudulent call, please email us at email@example.com
https://www.ird.govt.nz/identity-security/scam/scam-alert.html for more tips, how to confirm or report a scam.
https://www.netsafe.org.nz/scam-tips/ also has useful tips on how to recognise a scam.