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BNZ warns of increased tax scams as tax time approaches

As tax time approaches, Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) is urging New Zealanders to be alert to the heightened risk of tax-related scams.

“The end of the financial year is a prime opportunity for scammers, who take advantage of tax time to trick and defraud New Zealanders out of their money,” says Ashley Kai Fong, BNZ’s Head of Financial Crime.

“Scammers exploit the urgency and importance of tax-related matters, creating fraudulent but realistic scenarios about tax debts or refunds that can seem both timely and credible,” he says.

“Tax scams are particularly effective because people often have genuine interactions with the IRD during this time of year,” says Kai Fong. “Scammers exploit this familiarity to make their attempts more believable. It’s crucial to verify the authenticity of any unsolicited communication claiming to be from government agencies.

“A recent example we’ve seen is of customers receiving an email claiming to be from the IRD. The email, which originates from an unofficial email address, contains a link that directs customers to a fraudulent IRD website, which then leads them to a fake bank login page.

“Examples like this serve as a stark reminder of the importance of being vigilant and cautious when receiving unsolicited emails, even if they appear to be from trusted sources like the IRD or government agencies.”

New Zealanders should always access their accounts through official websites, rather than clicking on a link which directs them to do so.

“At this time of year, be particularly wary of emails or communications about tax refunds or debts. Verify the source thoroughly, and if in doubt, contact the IRD via the details on its official website. Remember, the IRD will never prompt you to log in to your online banking via their website or ask you to provide your banking login credentials.

“The simplest yet most powerful defence you have is being aware. Trust your instincts and always take a sec to check before providing sensitive information.”

In case of suspicious activity or suspected scams, BNZ encourages anyone who believes they may have been targeted by a scam to contact their bank immediately. For more information on protecting yourself from scams, visit www.getscamsavvy.co.nz.

 

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