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Singapore's IRAS warns of WhatsApp calls from scammers requesting personal details

·Senior Reporter
·3-min read
Screenshots of WhatsApp calls from scammers impersonating IRAS. (PHOTO: Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore)
Scammers impersonating IRAS are using WhatsApp calls to contact victims. (PHOTO: Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore)

SINGAPORE — The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) cautioned the public against WhatsApp calls impersonating the authority, its third such advisory in less than a week.

In an alert issued Monday (13 June), IRAS stated that it did not make calls through messaging applications such as WhatsApp, Telegram or Viber.

“Members of the public are advised to ignore such calls and not to provide any personal or bank account details, make any payments to a third party’s bank account or follow any instructions by the caller,” IRAS added.

If an individual received such a call, he or she is advised to do a “Report and Block” for that contact. This is so that the app will take down the account and stall scammers from using the number on other victims. IRAS advised individuals to call the tax authority at 1800 356 8300 for verification. The IRAS also provided a tool to check the authenticity of the call.

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Individuals affected by such scams are advised to lodge a police report, change their passwords or PINs on online accounts, and contact banks to stop any transactions.

Last week, the IRAS issued advisories warning the public of scam emails and phone calls purporting to be from IRAS.

A screenshot of a spoofed IRAS email. (PHOTO: Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore)
Scammers use a spoofed IRAS email to appear genuine. (PHOTO: Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore)
A screenshot of a fake email containing IRAS' signature. (PHOTO: Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore)
Scam emails use IRAS' signature to appear genuine. (PHOTO: Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore)

Taxpayers who received calls from scammers impersonating IRAS officers were told that they were eligible for tax refunds. The scammers then asked for bank accounts details and OTPs to facilitate the “refunds”. The scammers would make unauthorised transactions after receiving details.

The scam involving spoofed IRAS emails will get unwitting victims to check the status of their corporate income tax returns or file their tax returns via an attached file. This email will be signed off using IRAS’ email signature.

A screenshot of a scam email. (PHOTO: Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore)
Scammers impersonating IRAS to get victims to check on income tax returns. (PHOTO: Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore)
Screenshot of scam email. (PHOTO: Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore)
Scammers impersonate IRAS to ask victims to 'check' on status of tax filing. (PHOTO: Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore)

However these are phishing emails designed to obtain the victims’ personal details.

IRAS said, “As the Corporate Tax Filing Season 2022 has started and will end on 30 November 2022, taxpayers should be alert to phishing scams attempting to steal data or money.”

In May, the IRAS sent out an alert about scam emails requesting recipients to click on links to make payments due to purported discrepancies in their tax returns.

Earlier this year, IRAS also warned members of the public to ignore letters purporting to be from IRAS and instructing recipients to pay off their outstanding tax defaults with a cash deposit to “reactivate” their bank accounts.

IRAS does not send emails to taxpayers requesting them to check on the status of their corporate income tax returns or file their tax returns via an attached file. IRAS will also never disclose taxpayers’ tax amount in emails or solicit any confidential information over the phone or email.

All corporate income tax transactions are done through mytax.iras.gov.sg, which is accessed through Singpass.

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