sars tax return
Brace for the final 2024 SARS tax deadline of the season. Picture: SARS.

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Be careful of these SARS scams

There are several new and often believable SARS scams doing the rounds. Read below to not be caught by a scam.

sars tax return
Brace for the final 2024 SARS tax deadline of the season. Picture: SARS.

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has warned that several new scams are doing the rounds. Watch out for these new ways scammers are out to get you.

SCAM THREATS AND NOTICES

Fraudulent messages and emails are focusing on new topics an in attempt to scam South African taxpayers. These include:

  • Threats of SARS issuing court summonses against taxpayers
  • Threats of SARS blacklisting taxpayers
  • Threats of SARS issuing stop orders on accounts
  • Notice of correspondence relating to solar
  • Notice of outstanding amounts owed to taxpayers

To see examples of these and other scams, visit the SARS ‘Scams and Phishing’ page on their website.

According to Business Tech, the email addresses from which these emails are sent are either unrelated to official SARS channels or mimic .gov addresses in an attempt to appear legitimate.

SARS has recently made it clear that it is on a warpath in terms of non-compliant taxpayers. With that, there has been an increase in the scams focusing on blacklisting and court summonses.

Another tactic used by scammers, is to make it appear as if the emails come from addresses like returns@sars.co.za or refunds@sars.co.za or similar, making recipients of the emails think that they are eligible to receive tax refunds. An expected increase in these types of emails is during the period when taxpayers are expecting tax returns.

Scammers keep a close eye on SARS actions and procedures or timelines and adjust their tactics accordingly so as to be more believable.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU GET A SUSPICIOUS EMAIL RELATING TO SARS

If you receive an email about your tax and are not 100% sure that it is valid and legitimate, you can forward the email to phishing@sars.gov.za.

Follow these tips to avoid being caught by a tax scam:

  • Do not open or respond to emails from unknown sources.
  • Be very careful of emails asking for personal, eFiling, tax, or banking details such as your password or bank card information.
  • Never give out details over the phone even if you think the person asking for the details, is legitimate. Ask for an email or letter to be sent with the request.

Should you contact SARS telephonically, SARS may verify some of your personal details to make sure that they are speaking to the right person. However, SARS will never request your banking details.

Here are some warning signs to look out for:

SARS will not:

  • send you hyperlinks to other websites, not even websites of banks,
  • send *.htm or *.html attachments in an SMS, or
  • ever ask for your credit card details.