Consumers have been warned that criminal gangs are targeting taxpayers with thousands of scam e-mails offering bogus tax rebates.
The advice has come from HM Revenues & Customs (HMRC), which says the online attacks, also known as phishing, have increased markedly in July, leading to rising numbers of fraud reports.
The scam involves an e-mail that tells the recipient that they are due a tax refund, for which their bank or credit cards details are needed.
Consumers are being told to delete the e-mails immediately, as providing their details leaves them vulnerable to having thousands of pounds spent on their account, as well as their details being sold on to other criminal gangs
In the last 12 months, the HMRC has received over 15,000 reports of fraudulent repayment e-mails.
"We only ever contact customers who are due a refund in writing by post," said Lesley Strathie, chief executive of HMRC.
"We never use e-mails, telephone calls or external companies in these circumstances. I would strongly encourage anyone receiving such an e-mail to immediately send it to us for investigation and delete it from their computer."
The following e-mail addressees have been used in the scam and should be reported to the HMRC then deleted if received
firstname.lastname@example.orgTaxRefund@email@example.com@hmrc.direct.gov.uk firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
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