The time for people to complete and return the annual tax form is almost upon us. Therefore, you may not think it suspicious if you receive communication by email regarding an amount you will receive or pay as part of the #Renta2021.
However, as the Guardia Civil inform us on Twitter, this is a scam. Moreover, here is what to look out for.
Email with links
The email appears to come from the Agencia Tributaria and offers either a link or a file to download. Do not click on either link. The scammers are depending on a quick, shock reaction as to why you might have supposedly received a large fine or are being sent a credit.
Emails such as this that take on the identity of the Tax Agency, do so to infect your computer and access your personal data.
The scammers may give seemingly plausible reasons for you receiving such an email. But the timing and the amounts involved are relying on you clicking without thinking properly. Some of these reasons are as follows.
- You are due a tax refund
- A justification for you to download showing proof of transfer
- An alleged tax action is pending
- An invoice is outstanding and due to be paid.
- A request for you to check a tax receipt.
Redirected to fake websites
All the above reasons are similar in the format of the email. For example, if you click on the link, you will be redirected to a fake website, and a PDF invoice is downloaded for you to pay. Alternatively, the message may tell you a refund is going to be made, and once again takes you to a false website.
How to avoid being deceived
The first step is awareness. The Guardia Civil urges you to Retweet and share the information they have posted about the tax return scam.
— Guardia Civil 🇪🇸 (@guardiacivil) April 19, 2022
However, if you do receive such a communication, be sure to carefully check it. Common errors and things to look for are spelling mistakes, the entire name of the sender, and the subject matter. Also, as previously advised, always check the URL separately.
Furthermore, if you do suspect you have received a fraudulent email, contact the Tax Agency via their official communication channels on their website. Moreover, it should be noted that notifications like this are generally sent by certified mail.
What to do if you have been the victim of a tax return scam
If you have opened a file via a link, your computer or device may have been infected. Therefore, you should scan it using a current antivirus. However, if you have provided personal data or bank details, the official recommendation from The Internet Security Office (Oficina de seguridad del internauta – OSI) is for you to periodically monitor and check what information may be circulating about you on the internet. This will enable you to see if your personal information is being used without your consent.
Therefore, they recommend “egosurfing”. This will allow you to see where your name or information or other details pop up where they shouldn´t. Consequently, if you find this has happened, you can exercise your rights. This can be done via the Spanish Agency for Data Protection as they can provide guidelines on how to go about it. Equally, if you have given bank details, then you should contact your bank immediately, and change all passwords.