Businesses still need to beware of cold calls from people posing to be a tax office employee in spite of a recent round-up of a gang involved in similar practices.
Scammers have set up counterfeit websites to obtain the bank account information from Dutch businesses. The pages mimic the original websites of the Dutch Tax Administration, the iDEAL e-commerce payment system and leading bank ABN Amro.
How the scam works
In a recent case, Dutch businesses were phoned by ‘the Tax Administration’ to inform them that they could get a certain amount of money back. The caller asked for the bank account number so the money could be refunded. The unsuspecting businessman or employee gave the number, without giving it a second thought.
Not much later, the phone rang for a second time. It was the same voice again, saying that there had been a little mistake. It emerges that the business is still due another, minor sum of money: € 15. Only after that amount has been paid can the refund be deposited.
The € 15 are to be transferred through a hyperlink: http://www.belastingdienst.nl.35162844.idealayment.pw./
Starting with ‘Belastingdienst.nl’, this may look like the authentic URL, but the real domain is idealbetaling.pw. This is what the counterfeit website looks like (click to enlarge):
When the businessman selects his bank (ABN Amro) from the list and clicks on Next, he thinks he’ll end up on the website of his bank. However, at this point, the site has gone offline (click to enlarge):
Without the man knowing this, he has disclosed his online banking credentials to scammers. These have secretly logged onto the business’s bank account and are trying to transfer large amounts of money. However, this raises the suspicion of a bank employee, who contacts the company and stops the payments.
In this case, the company doesn’t lose any money. In fact, the whole episode prompts the company to take security measures to ensure that the scammers no longer have access to its bank account.
Always be vigilant when you receive a phone called from a tax office employee, a court officer or a bailiff. Con artists often pretend to work for courts, the tax authorities or other official bodies in an attempt to scam people out of their money.
If you receive a phone call from the tax people telling you a similar unlikely story, please hang up and contact the tax information line to verify the story.