Inland Revenue is warning consumers of an elaborate email scam claiming to be from the tax department.

IRD says a new "convincing" email scam which seeks to take advantage of those waiting on a tax refund is doing the rounds claiming to be from Inland Revenue.

In the email which is titled: "Your income tax update", the fraudulent email addresses the consumer directly and states a dollar figure amount 'refund'.

The email says IRD tried to send the refund to you automatically but were "unable to do so as we don't have your details on file". It asks if you are "ready to refund it now".

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IRD says this should raise alarm bells as the tax department does not include personalised greetings in its emails and does not include dollar amount in refund emails.

Inland Revenue spokeswoman Sharon Thompson said the scam appeared to be widespread, with more than 900 reports of the email over the weekend.

"It looks like the real thing but has some tell-tale mistakes that people can use to tell it's a scam," Thompson said.

"Embedded links can look quite convincing at first glance as "ird.govt.nz" can be included within the address. But if you hover over those links, you'll see Inland Revenue is not the destination."

Inland Revenue is in the process of having the scam removed but the sites with direct links prompting consumers to can "jump back up again", IRD said.

IRD is prompting customers who receive this email to forward the fraudulent email to phishing@ird.govt.nz.

A number of Herald readers have received the fake emails.

An example of the fake tax refund email that is being sent around.
An example of the fake tax refund email that is being sent around.

The tax department has been hit with a number of scam emails this year. In June another fake tax refund email requesting bank account details was being sent around.

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Earlier this month IRD said they had received more than 1170 reports from the public about the email scam since the end of June.

Signs that the email from IRD is a scam.
Signs that the email from IRD is a scam.

A spokesperson said scams have become more sophisticated over time and people need to be "very careful" when they receive unexpected emails.

"The links in the emails change all the time and we are having them taken down as the reports come in," they said.

"Often the links come back up again and we get them taken down again."

Inland Revenue's tell-tale signs of scams

• The scammer may pressure you to make a decision or do something quickly.

• The email, phone call or text may be threatening. The scammer might want to be paid in unusual ways such as gift cards, bitcoin or money transfer systems.

• A scammer may ask for your bank account details. IRD says: "We will never ask you to email or text us this information – we will always ask you to supply this through myIR."

• The scammers might ask for passwords to your online accounts. Legitimate organisations will never ask for passwords.

• Scammers often give website or email addresses that are wrong but look almost right. For example, they might send you to ird.co.nz, ird.qovt.nz or ird.gov.nz, instead of the correct ird.govt.nz