Taxman warns of WhatsApp refund scam

The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (Iras) issued an advisory on its Facebook page and website on Tuesday, alerting the public to a tax refund scam circulating on WhatsApp.

People were advised to avoid responding or circulating the scam e-mail image with the header, Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore-Refund-Online-Confirmation.

The scam e-mail included the taxman's official logo and instructed the receiver to download and complete a tax refund form from a link provided, before submitting it.

The receivers were falsely informed that they would receive a tax refund of $236.51, Iras said.

The scam e-mail added that the refund could be delayed due to various reasons, including submission of invalid records or submission of the request after a deadline.

Iras said members of the public should "be wary online, especially during this period when tax bills are being sent out in batches".

It added that its official e-mails are not sent out from personal e-mail accounts such as Hotmail or Gmail.

 
 

It also said that it does not ask members of the public for confidential personal details on the phone or instruct them to make payments to a third-party bank account.

It cautioned members of the public to verify sources of information carefully in order to identify fake news and prevent the spread of false information through messaging applications.

Several scams impersonating the taxman have been reported this month, including another e-mail scam containing fake tax invoices, which instructed receivers to make payments.

Iras has also received reports of members of the public receiving calls from scammers who were impersonating tax officials and requesting that outstanding taxes be paid.


HOW TO RECOGNISE A SCAM

Who sent it?

Official e-mails are not sent from personal e-mail accounts such as Hotmail, Gmail or other unfamiliar e-mail domains.

What is being asked?

Iras will not ask for confidential personal details through calls or request payments to a third-party bank account.

Check source of information

Always verify information with the main source so you do not contribute to spreading rumours through messaging apps

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 22, 2019, with the headline 'Taxman warns of WhatsApp refund scam'. Print Edition | Subscribe