Inland Revenue has released a warning about scammers targeting customers by claiming they owe money.
How it works
The scammer threatens the caller that if they don’t go to NZ Post and make a deposit into what is a fake account, they will be deported, face court action or jail time. In some cases people have been directed to purchase a Prezzie card and load it with the amount owed. The caller ID that appears when the scammer telephones is identical to Inland Revenue’s 0800 number. One of the victims was duped out of $6,500.
IRD states it will never:
- send you an email with a hyperlink to a webpage that asks you to submit your personal information
- cold call you 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.
IRD advises these steps to protect yourself from scammers:
- 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 the scam to Scamwatch.
For more advice, see Consumer's article on avoiding scams.