Posted by Nick Turpin on 25 Feb 2013

Don’t Get Caught on The Net by Tax Rebate Phishing Scam

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have revealed that Taxpayers reported almost 80,000 tax rebate “phishing” emails last year, as they warn people not to fall victim to the email scams sent by fraudsters.

The emails promise a tax refund in exchange for personal, credit card or banking details. However, people who respond risk opening their account to fraud and having details sold on to organised criminal gangs. Emails often link to a clone of HMRC’s genuine website to trick unsuspecting taxpayers into handing over their details, but HMRC never sends emails about a genuine tax rebate.

HMRC took action to close down 522 illegal sites in 2012, which showed these emails originated from a number of countries including the United States of America, Russia and Japan, as well as central and eastern Europe.

Gareth Lloyd, Head of Digital Security for HMRC said:

“HMRC does not email customers about tax refunds – we only ever contact customers who are genuinely due tax back in writing, by post.”

“If anyone receives an email offering a tax rebate and claiming to be from HMRC, please send it to phishing@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk before deleting it permanently. HMRC does everything it can to ensure customers are safe online and we are working closely with other law enforcement agencies to target the criminals behind this serious crime.”

To help customers stay safe online, HMRC strongly advises customers to:

If you have reason to believe that you have been the victim of an email scam, report the matter to your bank/card issuer as soon as possible. If in doubt please check with HMRC at http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/security/fraud-attempts.htm.

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