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March 2013

Tax rebate phishing scam

HMRC are warning taxpayers not to fall victim of scam emails sent by fraudsters. In 2012 taxpayers reported almost 80,000 tax rebate phishing emails and HMRC took action to close down 522 illegal sites.

The emails follow the same general format and promise a tax refund in exchange for personal, credit card or banking details. Those who respond risk opening their account to fraud and having details sold on to organised criminal gangs. The emails often link to a clone of HMRC’s website to make the email appear genuine.

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 [email protected] 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.'

HMRC also advise taxpayers to:

• Check the advice published at www.hmrc.gov.uk/security/index.htm
where they can see if the email received is listed.

• Do not click on websites or links contained in suspicious emails or open attachments.

• Follow advice from www.getsafeonline.co.uk

• Anyone who has answered one of these emails should forward the email and disclosed details to [email protected]

• 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.