BE ON alert for con artists who have gone phishing for your money.
That’s the warning from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) who don’t want taxpayers to fall foul of fraud emails in the run-up to the self-assessment deadline of January 31.
The email tells the recipient they are due a tax rebate, and provides a link to a clone of HMRC’s website where the recipient is asked to give their credit card or bank details.
The scam email often begins with a sentence such as ‘we have reviewed your tax return and our calculations of your last year’s accounts a tax refund of XXXX is due.’
Fraudsters then try to take money from the account using the details provided.
Victims risk having their bank accounts emptied and their personal details sold on to other organised criminal gangs.
In the last three months, HMRC has helped shut down 185 websites that were responsible for sending out the fake tax rebate emails.
Joan Wood, director of HMRC Online and Digital said: “We only ever contact customers who are due a tax refund in writing by post. We currently don’t use telephone calls, emails or external companies in these circumstances.
“If anyone in the South East receives an email claiming to be from HMRC, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org before deleting it permanently.
HMRC works with other law enforcement agencies in the UK and overseas. Scam networks have previously been shut down in various countries, including Austria, Mexico, the UK, South Korea, the USA, Thailand and Japan.
HMRC’s advice is:
l Check the advice published at www.hmrc.gov.uk/security/index.htm to see if the email you have received is listed
l Forward suspicious emails to HMRC at email@example.com and then delete it from your computer/mail account
l Do not click on websites, links contained in suspicious emails or open attachments
l Follow advice from www.getsafeonline.co.uk
l 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 check with HMRC at www.hmrc.gov.uk/security/fraud-attempts.htm