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Cyber Strategies Blog

Don't let the hackers steal your money.

Tax season is the ideal time for hackers to take advantage, so you should be aware of potential scams that could impact you. Filing your tax return can be a stressful experience, and it can also be the perfect opportunity for scammers to take advantage of unsuspecting citizens. Phishing emails and fraudulent payment demands tend to increase during this time, and with a large amount of money being moved around, hackers know there’s something out there for them. Brush up on their tactics and continue to stay safe this tax season.

Inland Revenue Impersonation tactics

Phishing and smishing messages

Scammers will send phishing emails or text messages (smishing) that claim to be from the Inland Revenue. These messages may state that you have an unpaid balance, need to update your taxpayer information immediately or need to collect a refund. These messages often contain links which lead you to a copycat site where you enter information such as name, date of birth, and ID number. The attacker can then use that information to steal your identity.

Social engineering scare tactics

Scammers play on your fears by dropping lines like "Pay now or get fined!" It's the classic fear factor. They know that when fear kicks in, people often act without thinking.

  • Urgency: Hackers love to create a sense of urgency. If a message pushes you to act immediately or threatens serious consequences, slow down. Scammers thrive on quick reactions.

  • Unexpected requests: Be cautious of unexpected emails or texts, especially those asking for personal or financial information. Legitimate organisations won't randomly ask you to provide sensitive details.

  • Check the source: If something feels off, double-check the sender. Hover over links (don't click them!) to see where the link will take you. Hackers use link masking to hide the actual URL of the link. Most browsers will display the true link when you hover the mouse pointer over it.

How to protect yourself

By following these two simple rules, you can safeguard yourself against tax scams.

  1. Don’t trust emails or texts claiming to be from the Inland Revenue: The Inland Revenue does not communicate through email or text messages for personal or financial information. If you receive a message like this, delete it immediately.

  2. Bookmark the official Inland Revenue website: When working on your taxes, always access the official website through a secure bookmark. Refrain from clicking on any links in unsolicited messages, as they could lead to fake login pages designed to steal your personal data.

Inland Revenue impersonanation is a major way hackers try to steal your data, but it’s not the only way. This time of year, online tax filing companies are upping their marketing game. Phishy tax related emails are landing in our inbox daily. Avoid clicking links in any tax service-related email offering discounts and “too good to be true” deals. It is always best to go directly to the offical website of your choosing to complete your tasks.


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