Tax refund phishing e-mail hits Malaysia

Country's tax authority says it received 217 complaints regarding false tax refund e-mail messages, while Royal Malaysian Police reports phishing scams in the country resulted in loss of US$126,862 this year alone.

The Inland Revenue Board (IRB) of Malaysia has cautioned the public of e-mail messages that contain false claims about tax refunds, noting that since Jul. 21, the authority has received 217 complaints from the country's taxpayers.

According to a report in, at a a media conference Wednesday, IRB Director-General Tan Sri Hasmah Abdullah said the tax authority does not notify taxpayers of payments or refunds through e-mail. Instead, such notifications are mailed through official letter, she noted.

She said the fraudulent e-mail messages include logos of local banks CIMB Bank and Public Bank, as well as a link that directs the victim to a fake IRB Web site where they are instructed to key in their online banking account details.

Also present at the briefing was Assistant Commissioner of Police Mohamad Kamarudin Md Din from Royal Malaysian Police, who noted that law enforcement authorities received 139 reports of phishing scams from January to July this year, amounting to losses of RM400,827 (US$126,862).