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
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