The South African Revenue Service (SARS) wants to issue an urgent warning to all taxpayers about a scam that solicits money from taxpayers and that has surfaced over the past few weeks.
The procedures by the suspected fraudsters are similar in nature to the modus operandi which the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric) described in a cautionary note to clients earlier this month.
The most common approach of the scam is that a fraudulent letter would be faxed to a taxpayer - mostly a registered business - that informs the taxpayer that a refund was mistakenly paid into the taxpayer's bank account. In some instances taxpayers are contacted telephonically or receive letters through the post.
The letter instructs the taxpayer to deduct bank charges and pay the balance into a bank account which supposedly belongs to SARS. A lot of pressure is put on the taxpayer to make the deposit. The amounts range anything from R50 000.00 to R1 million.
SARS wants to caution taxpayers not to pay any money into such accounts after receiving letters. It is not part of SARS' procedure to issue letters of this nature that claim that a refund was mistakenly been issued to a taxpayer.
It must be emphasised that, in the unlikely event that a refund is mistakenly issued by SARS, SARS has the procedures in place to withdraw the money without involving taxpayers or demanding from them to transfer money.
Some guidelines to people who receive such letters are:
If a taxpayer received such letter or any form of other correspondence to this effect, they must report the matter to a special, dedicated anti-fraud telephone line: 0860 105 684. This number will be operational from midday tomorrow, Friday 25 August 2006.
ISSUED BY THE COMMISSIONER FOR THE SOUTH AFRICAN REVENUE SERVICE