I got a phone call this afternoon from Mike claiming to be from SARS. Apparently a VAT refund was due and they needed my banking details to pay it back.
"Hmmm," I wondered, "they certainly seemed to know where to take the money from last time I submitted VAT, how strange that they seem to have misplaced it."
After reading here about all the scams going on, I'm prudent not to pass out to much information about me or my business. Being the prudent (and informed) business owner I suggested to Mike that maybe there was some problem, seen as SARS has been happily taking my money for a while now. I suggested that he send me the information about the refund so I could have a look at that. I kindly gave him my fax number.
After concluding my call with Mike, I decided to call my friendly SARS office (national line 0860 12 12 18) to enquire about this supposed VAT refund.
LO AND BEHOLD! You would not believe it! They had my banking details on file, and had no record of anyone contacting me. "Hmmm, prudence is paying I thought to myself," while the friendly SARS lady congratulated me for not giving out my banking details to these fraudsters.
One sad part to my tale: I called SARS fraud hotline (0860 00 28 70), but unfortunately without any payments having occurred they cannot investigate the matter.
Tax payer beware! (what's the latin for that?)
Quick moral of the story: NEVER, EVER give out your bank details to strangers, and call SARS (or whoever) on the contact number given on their website.