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SARS Issues Warning on Taxpayer Scam: Protect Yourself and Stay Informed

Sars Scam

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) is urging taxpayers to be vigilant as a new wave of scams targeting taxpayers in South Africa has been identified. The tax authority has detected a resurgence of a specific phishing scam, which preys on unsuspecting taxpayers by threatening them with court orders and blacklisting. This article will provide an in-depth look at the scam, including how it operates and tips for staying safe.

  1. The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has identified a resurgence of phishing scams targeting taxpayers, specifically through emails with subject lines like ‘SARS Letter for you’ or ‘Letter of Demand’, which threaten recipients with court orders and blacklisting.
  2. Taxpayers should be vigilant and aware of various types of scams, including phishing scams where criminals impersonate SARS to obtain sensitive information. SARS maintains a publicly accessible list of known scams to help taxpayers stay informed.
  3. To protect themselves from tax-related scams, taxpayers should follow guidelines provided by SARS, such as avoiding opening or responding to emails from unknown sources, being cautious of emails requesting personal or financial information, and understanding that SARS will never request banking or credit card details through email or SMS.

Email Scam Targets Taxpayers with Fake SARS Letters

SARS has alerted taxpayers to be on the lookout for an email with the subject line ‘SARS Letter for you’ or ‘Letter of Demand’. The tax authority reports that this fraudulent email threatens the recipient with a court order and blacklisting. Furthermore, the email contains a link to a phishing website designed to trick victims into divulging their personal financial information.

It is critical that taxpayers do not click on any links contained within these emails. Instead, SARS advises that if you have any doubts or concerns, you should report the suspicious email to phishing@sars.gov.za.

Recognizing and Avoiding Similar Scams

Apart from the aforementioned scam, there are other types of fraudulent schemes to be aware of, such as:

  • Revenue letters demanding important personal details.
  • Fake electronic statements designed to resemble official SARS communications.
  • Counterfeit court orders and summons letters.

SARS continuously updates its list of known scams, which is publicly accessible. To date, the tax authority has documented more than 330 different types of scams.

One of the most prevalent types of scams is phishing scams, where criminals impersonate SARS itself in an attempt to deceive taxpayers. These scams typically involve the use of fake emails, text messages, or websites to fraudulently obtain sensitive information, such as passwords and credit card details.

Protecting Yourself from Tax Scams: Tips from SARS

To safeguard yourself from falling prey to tax-related scams, SARS recommends following these guidelines:

  1. Avoid opening or responding to emails from unknown sources.
  2. Be cautious of emails requesting personal, tax, banking, or eFiling details (e.g., login credentials, passwords, pins, credit/debit card information).
  3. Understand that SARS will never ask for your banking information via post, email, or SMS. However, for telephonic engagement and authentication purposes, the tax authority will verify your personal details. Importantly, SARS will not send you hyperlinks to other websites, including those of banks.
  4. Watch out for fraudulent SMS messages.
  5. Remember that SARS does not send attachments with the *.htm or *.html file extensions.
  6. Keep in mind that SARS will never request your credit card information.

By staying informed and exercising caution, taxpayers can protect themselves from scams and ensure the security of their personal and financial information.

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