SINGAPORE - The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (Iras) on Friday (Jan 21) warned of a scam e-mail where recipients are told to buy an "approval pass" to receive funds from billionaire Bill Gates.
The e-mail would purportedly be from Iras, signed off in the name of the Commissioner of Inland Revenue, Mr Ng Wai Choong.
The e-mail would inform the recipients that their bank accounts had been blocked from receiving an unverified international funds transfer of $20 million from Mr Gates, co-founder of software giant Microsoft. He has a foundation, named after him and former wife Melinda, that does philanthropic work.
The recipients would be instructed to get a letter of confirmation from "the Bill Gate foundation" or buy an "international approval pass" to facilitate the transfer.
Iras advised the public to ignore the scam e-mail.
The tax authority said: "Please do not respond, provide any personal details, make any payment or follow any instructions by the sender."
Those who have done so are advised to lodge a police report.
The latest scam comes after news that OCBC Bank will make goodwill payouts to all customers affected by SMS phishing scams. Nearly 470 customers lost at least $8.5 million in total last month.
Iras previously warned of another scam e-mail in November last year, which had documents attached that may have contained computer viruses.
The e-mail was sent from "Singapore Government Tax Authority" and claimed that recipients had unpaid taxes.
There was another scam e-mail last May where scammers claimed to have received full payment of a tax evasion penalty from the recipient. Recipients were told to open a new bank account, or reply to the e-mail sender with their bank account details.
Last August, Iras also highlighted suspicious WhatsApp calls in which scammers would inform recipients that they faced a penalty for unpaid taxes.
The scammers would also ask to verify credit card details for the payment of the penalty.
Iras has said it does not send taxpayers' payment statements and tax notices over e-mail. It also does not make calls to taxpayers through messaging platforms like WhatsApp.
The authority said it will not request that taxpayers open a new bank account, nor ask to verify credit card or bank account details over the phone.