Watching out for scams at the end of the financial year

Jonathan Roberts from Moore Stephens Markhams Chartered Accountants tells us how to tell the difference between a scam and legitimate communication from the IRD. Click here to download the article “Watching out for scams at the end of the financial year”.

As we move closer to the end of the financial year, taxpayers should be aware there are often increases in the volume of scams targeting them. Over recent years these types of scams have become more sophisticated and have increased in volume with the scammers often attempting to defraud taxpayers through email, phone and text scams.

Email scams
Email scams are becoming the most common form of scamming relating to the Inland Revenue Department (IRD).  The emails, often referred to as “phishing emails”, usually appear with a fake IRD logo on them and either attempt to convince a taxpayer that they are going to receive a tax refund if they fill out an online form (which provides personal details to the scammers), or requests urgent payment of a tax debt and provides a fake bank account for the money to be deposited into.

They can also contain links to fraudulent web pages that are very close replicas to the actual IRD website and they can either request you to enter your IRD information or trigger a virus to be downloaded onto the computer.

All genuine IRD emails (other than those of a general nature) will contain the taxpayers IRD number, and any links will take
you to part of the IRD’s website which is www.ird.govt.nz.

The IRD will also never advise that you are due a refund via email, and will not request confidential personal details in
an email.

Phone and text scams
Some examples are where scammers call and say they are from the IRD and that a taxpayer is being investigated
for tax fraud or they are required to pay a debt urgently. They often request personal information and the taxpayers
IRD number and threaten legal action if their requests are not complied with.

Taxpayers may also receive phone calls or text messages claiming to be from the IRD or a tax refund agency requesting
information in order to provide a taxpayer with their refund.

“SMS Phishing” can also be used to trick a user into downloading malware such as a virus or trojan horse onto their mobile phone or other device.

The IRD will call taxpayers from time to time but this will usually have followed on from formal written correspondence that they have issued previously, and will not involve requests for confidential personal information.  The IRD also sends reminder texts to taxpayers but again, won’t require you to reply providing personal information.

If you do receive a suspicious email, text message, or phone call, you can email phishing@ird.govt.nz and report the
details for the IRD to investigate.

If you are unsure if the correspondence you received is legitimate, contact your tax agent as they will usually be able to tell very quickly if the correspondence you received is legitimate.

Contact your Moore Stephens Markhams advisor to discuss further if you have any questions.

Published February 2017

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