<heavy sarcasm>I was delighted </heavy sarcasm> to receive my reminder from Internet Register Ireland this morning dated Dezember 2009 [sic.] as it reminds me that it’s time for me to warn you all to beware these scammers. We’re obviously not alone as there has been an increase in trackbacks and comments on our original post on this matter. As one of our commenters points out at least it’s on Recycled Paper (you gotta love those Germans! 🙂 ) and this is what you should do with this letter on receipt: recycle it.
If you ever receive a letter or an email inviting you to join a directory, do a link exchange or other such activities always, always do a search about the company. Don’t just visit their site: it may look fine to you, it may even look spectacular but all that glisters is not gold. You may do a search and find mixed reviews on blogs and discussion forums or other social media. These reviews may or may not help you decide. Remember what these sites are offering you is exposure so you need to find out what kind of exposure you will be getting from them for your money and they should be prepared to use all the stats in their power to convince you. However you can also check how their site measures up on sites like Alexa.com, which is okay. (Know of other similar services? Please leave a comment below!) You can check out their Page Rank but more importantly brush up your understanding of how Search Engine Optimization works. There are stacks and stacks of resources out there – not least from Google Webmaster Central itself. If you owned a shop in a shopping centre or were attending a tradefair you would do everything in your power to make your shop/ stand em stand out from the others around you. Search Engine Optimisation, Search Engine Marketing and canny use of Social Media can get you noticed too. We run training events on all of these topics and plan to roll out lots of them in 2010.
For your information I am including a scan of the letter so you know what to keep an eye out for.
1. Revenue do not correspond by email, only in writing.
2. Revenue will ALWAYS quote your PPS number to you.
3. Revenue will never look for credit card details.
4. Revenue letterheads will always be used.
The test of the email is as follows:
From: Irish Tax & Customs [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] Sent: 13 July 2009 09:52 Subject: Tax Refund Number 2009IE291771TAX48/190 ATTN: Dear Applicant, 2009 - Recalculation Tax Refund After the last annual calculation of your fiscal activity we have determined that you are eligible to receive a tax refund of 284.23 EURO Your TRN (TAX REFUND NUMBER): 2 7 9 0 2 1 6 8 1 5, please fill the payment form attached in the email. Please submit the tax refund and allow us 3-9 business days in order to process it. Note: For security reasons, we recommend that you close your browser after you have finished accessing your refund status. - For security reasons, we will record your ip-address and date. - Deliberate wrong inputs are criminally pursued and indicted. Best Regards, George Thompson Tax Credit Office Agent email@example.com Telephone: 0845 300 3900 Opening hours: 8.00 am to 8.00 pm, seven days a week
However this scam is particularly convincing and includes an attachment entitled “form_payment.pdf.htm” which opens the following:
This form also includes the same ominous warnings about false information leading to criminal indictment as if getting an email from the Revenue Commissioners offering to refund you money wasn’t enough of a shock 🙂
The Revenue Commissioners have posted a warning and recommend that you delete the email and if you did go so far as to include details, you should contact your bank immediately to take steps to protect your account from the scammers.