An ‘authentic-looking' email purporting to be from the Inland Revenue Department offering a tax refund is a scam, says the IRD.
A SunLive reader contacted the newsroom with their experience after nearly falling for the scam and providing their details.
“The email I received was very realistic, and looked like it came from the IRD,” he says.
“It had the IRD logo, and the wording and format of the form all appeared to be authentic. It was only as I was filling in the form that I started to become suspicious.
“A few of the items of information seemed strange and made me wonder if it was valid – then I called the IRD and they said no, it's a scam.”
The email begins by describing the contents of the email and any attachments as ‘confidential', similar to the caveat many businesses attach to their communications. The email then informs the recipient they are eligible to receive a tax refund in New Zealand dollars, and are encouraged to complete a form by following a link.
Both the example on the IRD website and the email shown to SunLive are signed ‘Matilda Yvonne'.
An IRD spokesperson says this particular scam has come to their attention recently and is profiled on the scam alert page of the IRD website.
“The first thing to note that immediately suggests this is a scam is no genuine email from Inland Revenue would have this suffix. Scams of various types – mainly email or phone – are unfortunately a fairly constant occurrence these days.
“We would advise anyone concerned they may have been the victim of a scam to contact Inland Revenue on 0800 227 774 with their IRD number to further discuss the call or email they have received. Scam emails can also be notified by forwarding to firstname.lastname@example.org.”
The IRD will not:
• send you an email with a hyperlink to a webpage that asks you to submit your personal information
• send you an email, knock on your door or phone you promising a tax refund
• ask you to pay money in order to release a tax refund
• ask you to pay for any tax debt using iTunes cards, or any type of gift voucher
• threaten legal action “out of the blue” unless you immediately take some action to repay a tax debt
• send a representative to your house without a prior appointment. If someone turns up at your house, make sure you check their identification carefully and contact IRD if you are concerned.