Category: national
Updated: 18/07/12 : 05:58:48

Latest email scam targeting taxpayers revealed

Consumers have been warned to be wary of text and email scams after a spate of incidents over the past few days.

In the case of the online scam, taxpayers have been sent seemingly legitimate emails from Revenue seeking personal information in relation to a modest tax refund of €278.

The Irish Examiner reports that these phishing emails are headed "Irish Tax and Customs Notification" and contain a link to a form seeking personal information including credit card or laser card details. The email, which is sent from notice@ie-revenue.com, contains the official Revenue logo and could easily be mistaken for a legitimate email.

A spokeswoman for Revenue said it had contacted the internet service provider and the emails had been stopped.

"These emails did not issue from Revenue. The Revenue Commissioners never send emails requiring customers to send personal information via email or pop-up windows.

"Anyone who receives an email purporting to be from Revenue and suspects it to be fraudulent should simply delete it.

"Anyone who is 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."

In a separate scam, people across the country are also reporting receiving spam text messages saying their mobile number has won a lottery or a prize from some known brand.

The text then asks these "winners" to send their personal information to claim the reward.

Examples of the texts include:

* Congrats! Your Mobile # has Won $1,500,000USD in the FreeLotto Mobile Award. For Claims, send TSN#:3579220329, Your Name & Number to: ******@msn.***

* Congratulations! You are Ireland’s WINNER OF THE DAY! Go to http://www.apple.ie.totalfreegiveaway.*** to claim your prize. Must claim within 24 hrs.

* You are Ireland’s winner. Your phone number has been chosen to receive a prize. Go to http://www.sony.ie.contestcircle.***

Urban Schrott, IT security and cybercrime analyst with internet security provider Eset Ireland, said the texts seemed to originate in foreign countries and many used brand names, such as Sony, BMW, and Apple to attract potential victims.

"Unlike some old spams which were easily spotted because of their poor English spelling, many of these actually look quite convincing," he said.

In a statement, the National Consumer Agency urged anyone who receives any unsolicited contact requesting personal details, for any reason, to check if the request is genuine by contacting the person or organisation directly on their official listed telephone number and verifying the request.

* Further information in relation to scams is also available on the agency’s website,