SINGAPORE – Received an e-mail from what looks like the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (Iras)? Be extra careful as it could be a scam and could contain a virus, said the tax agency.
In a statement on Tuesday (Sept 12), Iras said it has received feedback from members of the public on scam e-mails that mimick the agency’s e-mail address ending with “@iras.gov.sg”.
“Certain parts of the e-mail details have been changed by the scammers to make them appear as if the e-mail was sent by Iras,” the statement said.
The scam e-mails, of which screenshots have been circulating on social media, notify the recipients that they are eligible to redeem a certain amount of tax refund.
They are then instructed to click on a link to download and fill in a “tax refund form”. The e-mail may also carry a file attachment, requesting the recipient to open it.
However, Iras said it does not send out confidential documents such as tax return forms or ask for confidential personal details through unsecure e-mails.
These confidential documents, which also include notices of assessment, refund letters or other tax statements, should only be submitted online using the secure tax portal at mytax.iras.gov.sg, said the agency.
This is the same for any other correspondences that include confidential personal information, which should be made via the secure myTax Mail portal, Iras added.
The agency also said it does not send out official e-mails from personal accounts such as Hotmail, Gmail, or other unfamiliar domains, and e-mail replies are usually signed off with an officer’s name, designation and contact information.
Iras also advised the public against opening the links or attachments in the scam e-mails, as they may contain computer virus.
In its statement, Iras also highlighted three instances that are likely scams: promises of money for little or no effort, deals that sound too good to be true, and perculiar email addresses and website URLs.
Anyone who has received a suspicious e-mail, letter, SMS or phone call purportedly from the Iras are advised to contact the agency immediately at email@example.com or on 1800 356 8225 to verify their authencity.
Members of the public who suspect they may have responded to a phishing scam with their personal or financial information are advised to lodge a police report, change the passwords or PINs on all online accounts, and contact their banks to stop any transactions.
This is the latest scam involving a government agency. Last month, at least 10 police reports were made about individuals posing as government officials, going door to door asking for victims’ personal particular, SingPass credentials and mobile phone numbers.
In April, police warned the public about a fake Singapore Police Force website, which was designed to extract personal information and money from victims.