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Singaporeans warned over resurgence of tax phishing scams

Singaporeans warned of tax phishing scam resurgence by IRAS, urging caution with unsolicited emails, advising verification of official links.

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SINGAPORE – Singaporeans are once again facing a resurgence of email scams purportedly originating from the tax authorities, attempting to deceive recipients into divulging sensitive personal information.

The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) issued a cautionary statement on Tuesday (30 Jan), highlighting the re-emergence of a phishing scam targeting taxpayers.

According to IRAS, individuals are receiving fraudulent emails that claim to be from the tax agency. The emails contain links that redirect recipients to counterfeit websites where they are prompted to input personal data, including Singpass credentials and credit card information.

A snapshot of a phishing email, directing taxpayers to a counterfeit website for purported tax refunds. (Photo: IRAS)

The scam, reminiscent of previous iterations, promises recipients a tax refund in the latest variant, heightening its allure to unsuspecting victims.

This recent warning echoes a similar advisory issued by IRAS in October 2023, which detailed a comparable scam where victims were enticed to click on links purportedly from the tax authority. In that instance, individuals were lured into viewing property tax notices via WeTransfer, a popular file transfer service.

Phishing scams, a prevalent form of cybercrime, typically involve fraudulent communications such as emails, text messages, or calls masquerading as legitimate entities to extract sensitive information from unsuspecting targets.

The ultimate aim is to illicitly acquire personal details, such as credit card or bank account information, which scammers then exploit to conduct unauthorized transactions.

The escalation of such scams has resulted in significant financial losses for victims in Singapore.

Recent data reveals that scam victims incurred losses totalling S$660.7 million in 2022, marking an increase from $632 million in the previous year.

In response to the resurgence of tax-related phishing attempts, IRAS has advised taxpayers to exercise caution and refrain from disclosing any personal, credit card, or bank account information in response to unsolicited emails.

Recipients are urged to ignore suspicious emails and refrain from following any instructions contained therein. Victims who have fallen prey to such scams are encouraged to file a police report promptly.

To mitigate the risk of falling victim to fraudulent schemes, taxpayers are advised to verify the authenticity of communications by scrutinizing email addresses and verifying links before clicking.

IRAS emphasizes that official correspondence from the tax authority will only originate from domains such as iras.gov.sg or go.gov.sg, urging taxpayers to utilize secure channels for tax-related transactions, including the MyTax Portal secured by Singpass login.

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