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Information Oberfinanzdirektion Karlsruhe

Warning against fraudulent SMS messages

Citizens are currently reporting requests for payment of an outstanding debt that they claim to have received from the tax office via text message.

The text message threatens the bailiff with the provisional seizure of the household effects. The garnishment can allegedly only be averted if the outstanding amount is paid in full. The SMS message contains a link which, when opened, contains a letter from the "Bundeszentralamt für Steuern" (Federal Central Tax Office) with a request for payment (no tax type, no time period, tax amount in three digits).

This is a well-known modus operandi of Internet criminals. The SMS messages are mass-mailed messages (SPAM) that are repeatedly sent by fraudsters in the name of the tax authorities (tax office, Federal Ministry of Finance or Federal Central Tax Office). In the SMS messages, alternating hangers try to get the recipient to click/tap on the link (here: outstanding debt). The link then either leads to malicious code or further data is requested under a pretext and a transfer is triggered at the expense of the victim.

Do not comply with these requests. Do not open the link. Delete the SMS. You will always receive such information from the tax office in written form and not via telephone calls or SMS messages. The Tax Administration recommends that you do not respond to such a phone call or SMS message or, if in doubt, contact the relevant tax office. You may file a complaint with the police at your own discretion. However, the SMS sender numbers are usually fake.

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