The Revenue Commissioners has recently made it known that a number of consumers have received fraudulent emails seeking personal information in relation to a supposed tax refund, or simply credit/debit card information.
“These emails did not issue from Revenue. The Revenue Commissioners never sends emails requiring customers to send personal information via email or pop-up windows,” it said in a recent statement.
This is a practice known as phishing, which is basically an attempt to access sensitive information (in this case financial or otherwise) including passwords and credit card information. One common method is to send an email purporting to come from PayPal or a similar credible organisation. A link within the email will redirect you to a spoof website and prompt you to enter your details, which then could be stolen. Phishing attempts can also arrive via telephone and SMS.
If you’re unsure as to whether an email is genuine, as emails and websites can look quite official, there are a number of warning signs to consider. Firstly, financial institutions won’t and should never contact you seeking password information or personal details through email. Vague salutations (Dear Customer) should also raise flags, as should email attachments which could contain a malicious file or programme.
“Anyone who receives an email purporting to be from Revenue and suspects it to be fraudulent or a scam should simply delete it. Anyone who is actually awaiting a tax refund should contact their local Revenue Office to check its status. Anyone who provided personal information in response to these fraudulent emails should contact their bank or credit card company immediately,” the Revenue Commissioners have said.
If you think you’ve already fallen victim to a scam, contact your financial institution and An Garda Síochána and change your passwords. For Revenue-specific security information, visit www. revenue.ie.