Those hustling in the dark arts have been busy in South Africa: The latest phishing scam spotted by the SA Revenue Service (SARS) uses their name to try and speculatively steal banking details from unsuspecting victims.

How to avoid the latest fake SARS scam


Posting to their website on Tuesday, SARS highlighted the dangerous message doing the rounds. Fraudsters are pretending that a “letter of demand” has been issued to each recipient, asking them to take “urgent action” with regards to their tax dealings.


The message features a link, which targets are encouraged to click. From there, you are asked to share your banking details in order to access the letter. The scammers are then able to keep sensitive information, draining funds and stealing cash from the account of an innocent victim. This is what the message looks like:

Beware, South Africa: This fake message from SARS is a scam_1
If you receive this message, avoid and delete it – Photo: SARS

‘Letter of demand’ scam debunked by SA Revenue Service


It’s not clear how many people have succumbed to this scam, but SARS felt it necessary to publish the alert on their website. They have an entire section dedicated to busting schemes of this nature, and 10 separate incidents have been reported since the start of October. The tax firm shared the following information with their customers:


“Members of the public are randomly emailed with false “spoofed” emails and SMS texts, made to look as if they were sent from SARS, but are in fact fraudulent emails aimed at enticing unsuspecting taxpayers to part with personal information such as bank account details.”
“Do not open or respond to communications from unknown sources, and beware of any messages that ask for personal, tax, banking and eFiling details. SARS will never request your banking details, but only ever ask to verify personal details. SARS won’t send you any hyperlinks to other websites – even those of banks.”SARS statement on “letter of demand” scam


Beware of scams!The latest SARS phishing scam pretends to be a letter of demand from SARS. Do not click on any links that will ask for your personal details, see the Scam Alert webpage for more scam examples: https://t.co/8UPN9eQR9W @sarstax— #MakeSASafe (@MakeSAsafe) January 15, 2020