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Phishing and other scams

Identity theft is using someone's private information to pretend to be that person and gain access to resources or benefits. The most common methods that fraudsters use to collect this information are email and phone scams.

By learning how scams work and how to protect your personal information, you can reduce your chances of becoming a victim of identity theft.

Are you a victim of identity theft?

If you have fallen for a scam, given away personal information or suspect your identity has been stolen, please see our "Victim support" page.

Email or phishing scams

Criminals use email scams known as phishing to get your personal information and money. They send out fraudulent emails to thousands of customers every day, usually promising things such as tax refunds.

Email scams may include a website link which will direct you to a false webpage. This webpage will usually be a very good replica of the real website page. You may be asked to enter personal Inland Revenue information, eg, your myIR Secure Online Services user ID and password. Clicking on the link in the email may also trigger a virus to be downloaded onto your computer. Both of these actions will allow the fraudster access to your Inland Revenue information and other personal information.

Reporting suspicious emails to us

If you have received a suspicious email please follow the below steps:

  1. Create a new email.
  2. Copy the "Email header" of the spam email to the body of your new email.
    Instructions can be found on the Department of Internal Affairs website.
  3. Copy the email content of the spam email to the new email under the headers your just copied.
  4. Send the new email to us at phishing@ird.govt.nz.

See some examples of scams currently targeting our customers

Phone scams

Other common methods that criminals use to get your personal information and money are phone and SMS scams.

Fraudsters may claim to be calling you from Inland Revenue or a tax refund agency to offer you a refund. This may be on the condition that you:

  • make an upfront direct payment to a bank account through a global money transfer provider
  • make the transfer through a false website address they’ll give you while they’re talking to you
  • provide identity information to them.

SMS scams may ask you to contact them on a fake Inland Revenue number instead of calling you directly. If you receive an SMS scam message or a fraudulent call please email phishing@ird.govt.nz and include:

  • the number that the text message or phone number (CallerID) originated from
  • any names and call-back numbers given by the text sender or phone caller
  • details about the scam including:
    • the amount of tax refund quoted
    • the reference number
    • the information requested, and
    • any other relevant information.

Other scams

You can find out about other methods used to steal personal information on the:

More information

Find out more about how to protect your identity

See some examples of scams currently targeting our customers