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Identity fraud happens when someone uses your personal information, such as your name and identity number, without your permission.
Criminals steal your identifying information from your home, car or wallet and even your rubbish bins and use your details to commit crime. Con artists can also get your personal and confidential information from the internet, social networking sites, emails, spoofed websites, Short Message Services (SMS) and voluntary telephone calls.
It’s important to be alert, as cybercrime is on the increase, especially with the widespread use of smartphones and smart devices.
Types of Identity Fraud
Phishing: These email scams ask you to provide your private and confidential information via a website link. SARS will never ask you for your information, such as eFiling details (login, passwords, pins, debit/credit card information) in an email or over the phone.
Refund Scams: A legitimate taxpayer’s identity file is used to claim a fraudulent refund. The criminal can also use your information to change the banking details on your profile.
Identity Theft: A criminal pretending to be a SARS employee phones taxpayers and tells them that SARS owes them money.
SARS will never notify you about refunds by telephone or email.
Fake SARS auditors/employees: Con artists pretending to be SARS employees or auditors tell businesses that they are being investigated and they will be audited.
A fake letter that is supposed to be from the Audit Section requests the client to co-operate with the “auditor or employee”.
Spot Possible Identity Theft Scams
The following are all red flags for possible tax scams:
- More than one tax return has been filed in your name.
- A balance is due to you, you had a refund offset or collection actions were taken against you for a year you did not file a tax return.
- SARS has on record that you receive a salary from an employer you’ve never worked for.
- You receive a letter/email/fax in which “SARS” states that they refunded your incorrectly and you must deposit the “overpayment” into a bank account.
- You receive an email requesting your eFiling details (login details, passwords, pins, credit/debit card information).
Report Suspicious Activity, Identity Theft or Fraud to SARS
If you suspect you received communication that wasn’t legal or a fake SARS “employee” contacted you, call one of these numbers:
|012 422 7435||Confirm if someone is a SARS employee|
|0800 00 2870||Anti-Corruption and Fraud Hotline|
|0800 00 SARS (7277)||SARS Contact Centre|
You can also fill in the suspicious-activity report form online or visit your nearest SARS branch.
If you’re a victim of identity theft, notify SARS and report it to the police. It’s crucial to close all your bank accounts immediately.