Residents in Austria warned over scam 'Finanz' messages

The Local Austria
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Residents in Austria warned over scam 'Finanz' messages
A person holds a smartphone. Photo by Jonas Leupe on Unsplash

Scammers have been targeting residents in Austria with fake messages regarding a 'seizure' by the tax office. Here's what you need to know to avoid becoming a victim.


Just as people in Austria are preparing their tax declarations, hundreds of them have started receiving a text message allegedly from the tax office - with a dodgy link attached.

The message goes, in German: "[FINANZAMT] Your outstanding debt with the number KBSA438912 has not been paid despite several reminders. On March 8, the bailiff will seize your household goods as a precaution. You can avoid the seizure proceedings by paying the full amount immediately via your payment link."

(Screenshot / The Local Austria)

The worrying SMS was produced by scammers seizing an opportunity and using a new trick. Clicking on the link would take you to a fake site mimicking the tax office in Austria with a request to transfer €379 to an Austrian bank account.

Another variant of the same crime would lead to a fake site, imitating the tax authorities, saying that you have a repayment ready and asking for your personal information, including your bank account, to send it. 

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Gerald Rak, head of financial investigations at the Federal Criminal Police Office (BK), said his team are investigating, "There are hundreds of people affected who either actually paid, or at least reported the fraud to the police.", he told Austrian media.


The authorities ask people not to make any money transfers without adequately checking the site and recommend that you access the Finanz Online site directly instead of clicking on any links. They also recommend that you check the links sent to you. In this case, the address goes to .info, while official government sites end with in Austria.

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Cybercrimes and scams on the rise

Austrian residents have been increasingly targeted by online or SMS scams. In many cases, the criminals call or text victims pretending to be police officers, the so-called "fake cop scam", to get them to make payments, give out information or even just surrender money and assets. 

People also receive messages from unknown numbers claiming to be their "son or daughter" with a new phone number. When the conversation progresses, the scammers will ask the worried parent to make an "urgent payment" on their behalf while they fix their old cell phone. 

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In every case, scammers take advantage of spamming a large number of individuals to trick at least a few of them. Therefore, the police ask that you ignore and delete any suspicious calls or texts and not make any money transfers (or send your information) without checking the situation first.



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