Tax Season Cyber Scams | Cyberthreats

19 Jul

Avoid SARS impersonators during filing season

Filing season for provisional taxpayers is officially underway, and SARS is making it easier than ever for individuals and businesses to comply by making a full range of tax submission options available online. But, like every process that uses web-based technology there’s always a risk of cybercrime and scams.

Recently, authorities have received reports of hackers and other cybercriminals misleading taxpayers. The most common scams seen to date seem to be by impersonating SARS, stealing sensitive financial information from members of the public, and even going so far as to file returns in the names of the victims and collect their tax rebates fraudulently.

In this article we take a look at some of the online crimes related to tax filing and how you can avoid becoming their next victim.

are you sure that message is really from SARS?

The tax authorities use a variety of communication methods, primarily email and text messages, to contact taxpayers and make the filing process easier.

Unfortunately, scammers have become extremely good at impersonating SARS – and that means you’ll have to be especially careful before you reply to a message that appears to come from the revenue service. Here are some pointers: 

  • Checking the email address isn’t enough. Some scammers have managed to create email addresses using the sars.gov.za domain, giving recipients the impression that the correspondence is 100% legitimate. To combat this, it’s essential to verify that the email you receive is actually from a SARS official.
  • Before you reply to a SARS email or take any other action, contact your nearest SARS office, and verify that the person who sent the email really works there.
  • You’ll want to be especially cautious if you receive an email that asks you to re-enter your personal details or bank account information since this data is already on the SARS system. It’s extremely unlikely that anyone would ask you to enter these details online – unless they’re a scammer.

what to do if you’ve been scammed

Sometimes even the most vigilant person can become a victim of cybercrime. If you suspect that you’ve been targeted by cybercriminals posing as SARS officials, you can contact the SARS Fraud and Anti-Corruption Hotline at 0800-00-2870 or email phishing@sars.gov.za.

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Cybercriminals are thinking up new ways of stealing personal and business data by the minute. Keep your financial and sensitive information safe this tax season and into the future by using encrypted online data storage. To learn more, see our range of secure cloud storage solutions today.

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