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With South Africa’s tax season underway and SARS’ auto-assessments being sent out, the tax revenue service has warned of scams targeting eFiling users.
SARS has noted several ongoing scams in the past two weeks. These include ones that attached malicious files to emails and ones that use phishing to steal credit card information.
SARS email attachment scams
The latest email scams target users by claiming that they have received a refund from SARS. They provide an attachment for users to open.
SARS did not detail how some of these scams work, such as the specifics of the files included in the email.
However, it marked the most recent flagged email as a scam on its website on 31 July, with other versions of the scam also appearing on social media.
Attached malicious files, including .htm and .HTML files, can contain Trojans, worms, or other malware.
On its scams advice page, SARS says that criminals frequently use refunds to scam users.
“Examples include emails that appear to be from email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org indicating that taxpayers are eligible to receive tax refunds,” the revenue service says.
SARS says that it never sends .htm and .HTML attachments in its emails.
Scams can also open up a web-page that phishes banking details from users.
SARS retweeted a video demonstration of one such scam on Twitter.
— That_guy (@Da_guyzin) August 4, 2020
Users are also being targeted through SMS text messages, especially in light of the SMSes taxpayers received regarding auto-assessments.
SARS does send text communication to eFiling users, but doesn’t ask for any details from users such as banking details or passwords.
Beware of emails or text messages that ask for personal, tax, banking and eFiling details like login credentials, passwords, pins, credit and debit cards. SARS will never request banking details on any communication that you receive on email or SMS. Stay vigilant. #YourTaxMatters
— SA Revenue Service (@sarstax) August 6, 2020
If you receive a notification about eFiling updates, don’t click on a link or file.
Rather, manually enter the eFiling website into your browser (www.sarsefiling.co.za) and login through the secure SARS portal.
You will be able to view your updates, assessments, and files through this portal.