SINGAPORE: The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (Iras) issued a warning on Friday (Jan 21) about a scam e-mail instructing recipients to purchase a “approved permit” in order to receive payments from billionaire Bill Gates.

The e-mail would appear to be from Iras and would be signed by Ng Wai Choong, Commissioner of Inland Revenue.

The e-mail would warn the recipients that Gates, the co-founder of software giant Microsoft, had barred their bank accounts from receiving an unconfirmed international money transfer of US$20 million (RM83.65 million) from him. He has a humanitarian foundation named after him and his ex wife Melinda.

To assist the transfer, the receivers would be asked to get a letter of confirmation from “the Bill Gate foundation” or purchase a “international permission pass.”

Iras warned people not to respond to the fraudulent e-mail.

“Please do not react, disclose any personal information, make any payment, or follow any instructions given by the sender,” the tax department advised.

It is recommended that those who have done so file a police report.

Following news that OCBC Bank will provide goodwill reimbursements to all customers harmed by SMS phishing schemes, the next fraud has surfaced. Last month, over 470 clients lost at least S$8.5 million (RM26.42 million).

In November of last year, Iras warned about another scam e-mail that included papers that may have included computer viruses.

The e-mail stated that recipients had outstanding taxes and was issued by the “Singapore Government Tax Authority.”

Last May, fraudsters sent out another e-mail claiming to have received full payment of a tax evasion penalty from the receiver. The message instructed recipients to either create a new bank account or reply to the e-mail sender with their bank account information.

Iras also highlighted unusual WhatsApp calls in August, in which fraudsters threatened victims with a penalty for unpaid taxes.

Scammers would also demand that credit card information be verified in order to pay the penalty.

Iras has said that it does not issue payment statements or tax notifications to taxpayers through email. It also doesn’t use messaging tools like WhatsApp to contact taxpayers.

Taxpayers will not be asked to create a new bank account, nor will they be asked to verify credit card or bank account information over the phone, according to the authority. – Asia News Network/The Straits Times (Singapore)

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