Tax on Sugar Scam
How the scam works:
Parents of school age children have been enjoying the convenience of paying for their kids’ school lunches online for several years now. This method makes it simple for parents to keep an eye on how much their students are spending to eat at school and to control what types of food they can have – for example, a la carte versus plate lunch only. But as with the invention of any online convenience, criminals have infiltrated the easy payment system to perpetuate a scam.
The tax on sugar scam involves an email sent to parents using the online payment method, asking them for such personal identifying information as their social security numbers and credit card numbers. The email indicates that the Ministers of Health and Education have initiated a so-called sugar tax. This tax – 85 cents per year for each school child – is being used to combat childhood obesity.
This typical email phishing scam has been identified as such by company spokespersons for these electronic accounts, and anyone receiving the email is being asked to delete them immediately and not to click on any links that may be contained in the message.
How to avoid:
It goes without saying that confidential information such as social security numbers and credit card account information should never be given freely when requested by an unverified source. If the communication seems legitimate, contact the company to verify that it is indeed an email from their corporate headquarters. Many scams can be detected easily by making a simple, five-minute telephone call.
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