Tax refund phishing email scam

Tax refund phishing email scam

A Tax refund scam email starting circulating this week. This one poses as being from Westpac, informs the recipient that they are eligible for a tax refund and specifies the amount. It is fair to say that most people in the world like the idea of getting a tax refund. However, this email is a scam and is designed to steal people’s banking details.

The email is reproduced in Figure A. Posing as being from “Westpac Services”, it uses the subject line “Customer refund ID: 923sS9WST2014” (or very similar). The email does not use any Westpac logos, but it does have a copyright notice fixed to the bottom of the email, together with an Australian Business Number (ABN). This is to add a sliver of authenticity to the email.

MailShark Claim tax refund phishing scam
Figure A – Click to Enlarge

The body of the email goes on to explain that the recipient of the email is eligible to receive a refund of AUD 232.29. The email explains that the user will get the refund in six to eight weeks. However, if the user supplies their bank account details via a link embedded in the email they will be able to receive their refund in a nominated bank account. Sounds irresistible to many people (including us). The link itself is the sole link contained in the email. The text of the link looks like a genuine Westpac link.

It is a plain phishing email in many ways. There are a few issues with the email. Although it is from a bank, there is no personalised greeting. In fact there is no greeting at all. Perhaps the crafters of the email thought that the bait of money would suffice for a greeting.

Aside from the slightly clumsy grammar of the email, the link is also bogus. Mousing over it shows an IP address that is in fact a phishing site. This site looks somewhat like the genuine Westpac site. It is designed to steal the user’s internet banking credentials.

Delete this email if you receive it.

Scott Reeves
MailShark
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