HMRC warn of Email Scams
HMRC is warning of a dramatic increase in fraudulent emails claiming to offer a refund of overpaid taxes. Reports of fraudulent “phishing” emails have risen by 300 per cent over the past year, HM Revenue & Customs has confirmed.
It is essential that anyone receiving an email claiming to be from HMRC telling them that they are due a tax repayment does not follow the email’s instructions. Instead, they should and contact HMRC immediately before deleting the email.
The emails include a link to a cloned version of the HMRC website, where recipients are invited to enter their bank or credit card details.
Providing the information asked for enables criminals to steal the account and victims risk not only having their bank accounts emptied but also their personal details being sold on to other organised criminal gangs.
HMRC receives thousands of complaints about phishing scams and is currently shutting down around 100 sites every month. Joan Wood, Director of HMRC’s online and digital dept. said: “Customers who are owed a tax refund will only ever be contacted by post. We don’t currently use phone calls, emails or external companies in these circumstances. We would ask anyone who receives a suspicious email claiming to be from HMRC to send it to email@example.com.
“HMRC will do everything possible to ensure that taxpayers know how to protect their information and we are working closely with other law enforcement agencies to target the criminals behind this serious crime.”
HMRC advise customers to:
1. Check the email they have received is listed at http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/security/index.htm
2. Forward any suspicious emails to HMRC
3. Do not click on websites, links contained in suspicious emails or open attachments.
4. Follow advice from http://www.getsafeonline.co.uk
5. 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.
The sooner you report suspicious activities to HMRC or you bank/card issuer the sooner they will be able to take action
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