14:45 PM, 4th February 2011, About 12 years ago
Taxpayers should not respond to bogus emails from fraudsters offering tax rebates on behalf of HM Revenue and Customs.
HMRC has revealed crime gangs have sent out millions of fake ‘phishing’ emails following the January 31 tax return filing deadline.
The email claims a tax rebate is due and provides a link to a sham HMRC web site. The recipient is asked to provide credit card details so the taxman can pay the rebate electronically.
Fraudsters then try to take money from the account using the details. Victims risk having their bank accounts emptied and their personal details sold on to other fraudsters.
In the last three months, HMRC has shut down 99 websites that were responsible for sending out the fake tax rebate emails.
100 bogus tax web sites shut down
Chris Hopson, Director of Customer Contact at HMRC, said: “As a matter of policy, HMRC will only ever contact customers who are due a tax refund in writing by post. If anyone receives an email offering a tax rebate claiming to be from HMRC, we recommend they send it to firstname.lastname@example.org before deletion.”
HMRC thoroughly investigates phishing attacks and works with police in the UK and overseas to track down the scammers.
In the last 18 months, fraud networks have been shut down in Austria, Mexico, the UK, South Korea, the USA, Thailand and Japan.
HMRC strongly advises taxpayers to:
If you have suspect you are the victim of an email scam, contact your bank or credit card lender as soon as possible.