Beware the latest spate of revenue scams doing the rounds

3 Nov 2016

Dodgy emails are doing the rounds. Image: TypoArt BS/Shutterstock

Another year, another batch of poorly written emails from scammers targeting everyone and anyone – with revenue refunds the order of the day.

Dodgy Irish tax and customs emails have become far more common in email inboxes as 2016 comes to a close, with quite a few variations on the theme in recent weeks.

ESET Ireland reports of a handful of examples, one of which we received ourselves – though they all seem poorly executed.

Future Human


ESET’s first example is incredibly bare and showcases an obvious lack of effort from the scammers.

The subject says ‘Refund Invoice ID#: 73867522’ and the content claims there is a pending €161.00 refund, offering a link ‘Refund NOW’, which leads to a fraudulent website.

Revenue scam

Image: ESET Ireland

The second, more detailed example is one we received a few days ago, entitled ‘Revenue – Tax Refund’. It comes from a .ie email address that looks legit, with the incentive of €244.79 attempting to lure us in.

“This is the last and Final notice we will be sending regarding this issue. You are require to Submit the tax refund request using the reference below (sic).”

RevenueAgain, there is a simple click-through link, followed by a threat of criminal prosecution if users fill in anything wrong. The sign off, as if you needed one, is a dead giveaway though.

A third example is provided by ESET and it’s far more professional.


Image: ESET Ireland

All click-through sections bring users to fake websites seeking input of financial details.

The revenue commissioners have this week responded to the growth in reported cases, saying fraudulent emails and text messages are increasing.

“These emails and text messages did not issue from Revenue,” it said. “The Revenue Commissioners never send emails or text messages requiring customers to send personal information via email, text or pop-up windows.”

It goes on to insist users delete any of these emails or messages, and anyone who filled in details on these sites to contact their bank immediately.

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic