Limerick-based Revenue official issues warning over 'scam' emails offering refunds

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

Limerick-based Revenue official issues warning over 'scam' emails offering refunds

Scam with a capital S: Turlough McNamara received an email purporting to be from Revenue

A SENIOR official with the Revenue Commissioners in Limerick is warning people not to be duped by scam emails.

Principal officer Pat O’Shea is reiterating that the Revenue Commissioners has a policy of never seeking the disclosure of personal details from customers via email.

He issued the warning after details of a number of scam emails offering a tax refund were sent to Revenue customers across Limerick in recent weeks.

In one case, which has been reported to gardai, well-known sporting figure Turlough McNamara received an email which he said appeared to be legitimate.

“As scams go this was a scam with a capital S. It really looked the works and was very authentic with the Revenue logo,” said Turlough who was informed by Revenue staff it was a scam email when he made further enquiries.

The email indicated that Mr McNamara, who works for Limerick City and County Council, was owed a tax refund of €285.13 and he believes that had he replied, he he would then have been asked to supply his bank details.

Mr O’Shea says emails such as the one sent to Mr McNamara are not unusual.

“It’s one of a number which we would have come across in recent times. They are all quite similar, they look believable. Generally if you look closely enough in them you will find some errors in terms of spelling and often the grammar might not be 100%,” he said adding that anybody who receives such emails should be ultra careful.

While the Revenue Commissioners is embracing digital technology, Mr O’Shea says safeguards have been put in place.

“Online is obviously the way we are going but the way the Revenue deals with people is through its own direct access system where you need a pin to get into it. In other words, we will never communicate with you just over the open internet, you have to go into a system,” he stressed adding that the Revenue operates secure portals for both business and PAYE customers who wish to conduct their business online.

“You can register, you get your PIN number and you can communicate with us in a secure environment and you know each time that you go into that secure environment it’s totally safe,” he said, adding that Revenue has very high internationally-recognised standards in place.

Gardai are also warning people to be vigilant and to report any suspicious emails to them.