BEWARE! SARS warn about scammers…victims could be charged

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The hunt is afoot! The South African Revenue Services (SARS) has issued a warning this week that fraudsters are prowling WhatsApp for their latest victims. The criminals attempt to gain sensitive information for nefarious ends to defraud the system for personal gain.

SARS SAY SCAM VICTIMS CAN BE CRIMINALLY CHARGED

The revenue services say although they have robust security systems protecting taxpayers’ information, citizens also needed to remain vigilant as the defrauded individuals could give criminals the keys to break into the vault.

“Information held by SARS can only be accessed using proven authentication methods, such as access using unique usernames and passwords and access confirmation using one-time passwords (OTPs). Fraudsters are using a range deceptive methods to get taxpayers to unwittingly provide them with personal information which are used to defraud the taxpayer and the country. The fraudsters may also use your personal information in such a
way that can result in you having increased tax liabilities to SARS and you can become the subject of a criminal investigation,”

stated SARS in their latest warning

FRAUDSTERS POSING AS SARS EMPLOYEES ON WHATSAPP

While the revenue collector does have online platforms and a myriad of methods to be contacted, verification was emphasised by the revenue service.

“The person contacting you may claim to be working at SARS by using the name of a person who is a legitimate employee and will indicate that they are contacting you on behalf of SARS. Always be cautious when you receive a call from a person claiming to be from SARS offering to assist with your tax returns, to help you get a tax refund, or wants your personal and/or business information.”

said the tax collector

SARS further elaborated that WhatsApp and similar messages and SMSs were popular as they could contain links that the scammers encourage victims to use. Unfortunately, these links may contain malware that fraudsters will use to gain access to devices to steal personal information.

ALSO READ: Sixty SARS employees paid R1 million in salaries for ‘doing nothing’

It was also suggested that citizens be cautious of strangers offering assistance with tax-related tasks and to not blindly trust each email headed “Outstanding Debt” or “Final Demand” as this was a manipulation tactic.

WHAT THE CYBERTHIEVES WANT

SARS noted that fraudsters almost always want a combination of the following:

  • Identity number
  • Telephone number
  • Address (physical and/or work)
  • Email address
  • Income tax number
  • VAT number or any other SARS reference number associated with you
  • SARS eFiling username and password
  • Bank account details
  • Financial statements

Below is the warning issued by the taxman:

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