At taxback.com, we’re always alerting people to the most recent tax refund fraud schemes that are going around. Sometimes, these emails are even sent to members of our tax team, who of course, immediately report the email to our worldwide tax team, as well as partners and the tax office. By now, many people know what these emails look like and know how to avoid them. But not all of them are that easy to spot. So how can you identify them?
More interesting: The Australian tax time
At best, the emails are obvious fakes – obscure email addresses are an obvious red flag, even bad grammar or links which are immediately flagged by your phishing security software raise alarm. There’s just something that’s not quite right about these emails. At worst though, these emails look legit. A number of them, specifically fraudulent emails purporting to be HMRC and the Australian Tax Office (ATO) use the same logos, graphics and style that you see on the legit tax office websites. Insidious and convincing, these are the ones people are likely to get caught by, and when you see them, you understand why.
The most important thing to always keep in mind is that tax offices worldwide will never email you regarding a tax refund. No matter how legitimate the email may seem, or how tempting it is to respond once you see the amount they’re offering you, the fact stands – tax offices just don’t email you about tax refunds. Last year tax payers reported close to 80,000 tax refund fraud emails to HMRC which lead to the shut down of nearly 522 illegal sites. So what should you do if you receive one of these emails?
Instead of deleting it outright, send it on to the fraud department at the tax office the email appears to have come from. In recent times, it’s even become common practice to alert the tax office, and others, about the email by posting about it on their Facebook page.
These emails will typically ask you for personal details such as your name, email address, bank account details, passwords etc. Never ever send them on as they will be used to steal from you.
On our Facebook page, we update people on the latest tax refund phishing emails as they appear. If you want to get automatic notification warnings about the latest fraudulent tax refund emails, follow us on Facebook and Twitter as well as checking out this blog. You can also check out the social media pages of tax offices and visit tax office web pages to find out more.