The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has received numerous reports of a new type of phishing scam.
Scammers, claiming to be from Inland Revenue, are cold calling people to say they are being investigated for tax fraud. The scammer requests personal information including the person’s IRD number, before threatening them with legal action. In some cases people are told they must pay a debt urgently or face jail.
Some people have also reported scammers leaving voicemails stating the recipient is subject to criminal action for tax fraud, leaving a phone number for the person to return the call.
IRD will never:
- send you an email with a hyperlink to a webpage that asks you to submit your personal information
- send you an email or call promising a tax refund
- ask you to pay money in order to release a tax return
- send a tax agent to your house without a prior appointment. If someone turns up at your house, make sure you check their identification carefully and contact the IRD office if you are concerned.
Things you can do to protect yourself
- Look after your personal details in the same way you would your wallet and other possessions. Your personal details are also very valuable to scammers. Scammers can use credit cards, claim benefits, take out loans, run up debts - all in your name.
- Never enter your personal details into a website unless you are sure it is genuine.
- Check website addresses carefully. If they're similar to a genuine company's URL, but not quite right, be wary. Never visit your bank's website by clicking on a link - type in the website address yourself.
- Don't reply to, click on any links or open any files in spam emails. Don't call any numbers in spam emails.
- Check your account statements and credit card bill to make sure no-one is accessing your accounts. Order a credit report every year to make sure no-one is using your name to borrow money or run up debts.
If you suspect you have given away your credit card details to a scammer
- Call your bank immediately so that they can suspend your account. Ask to speak to bank staff that specialise in security or fraud for assistance.
- Report any suspicious emails or phone calls to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Credit card companies can reverse a fraudulent transaction if contacted soon enough.
- Report it to Netsafe.org.nz (external link)