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Several Inland Revenue scams detected as Kiwi's file tax returns

September 20, 2017

An online scam targeting Kiwis filing a tax return has been uncovered by the Herald, and the Inland Revenue is now investigating the scheme.

Inland Revenue confirmed the fraud when the Herald forwarded an email chain purporting to be from IRD. The email arrives with subject line reading, "IR3 individual income tax return 2016". It goes on to read: "After the last calculations of your fiscal activity, we have determined that you are eligible to receive a tax refund". With a domain name of "public.service.department@inlandrevenue.org", it then lists a figure in New Zealand dollars for what the targeted person is owed. "Please submit the tax refund request and allow us 1-3 days in order to process it," it said. An external link for the victim to click on and enter their personal details is then offered for the person to claim their "tax refund". "Note: A refund can be delayed a variety of reasons, for example submitting invalid records or applying after deadline," the email warns. It ends with a copyright claim for Inland Revenue and that for "security reasons" the user will be "automatically logged off after 15 minutes of inactivity".

An Inland Revenue spokesman told the Herald it was not a genuine email, and warned people of several scams the department was aware of during this year's tax season. "We have not had reports of this particular scam," he said. "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."

He advised anyone who had received the email, or may have already fallen victim, to contact Inland Revenue on 0800 227 774 with their IRD number.

Ways to spot a scam

The IRD will not:

• Send you an email with a hyperlink to a webpage that asks you to submit personal information.

• Send you an email, knock on your door or phone you promising a tax refund.

• Ask you to pay money to release a tax refund.

• Ask you to pay a tax debt using iTunes cards, or any type of gift voucher.

• Threaten legal action "out of the blue" unless you immediately start to repay a tax debt.

• Send a representative to your house without an appointment. If someone turns up at your house, make sure you check their identification carefully and contact IRD if you are concerned.

Sam Hurley

New Zealand Herald police reporter.

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