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HMRC warns over email tax scams

HMRC warns over email tax scams

Category: Money

Updated: 21/05/2012
First Published: 21/05/2012

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HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is warning people to be aware of new email scams designed to trick them into giving up their bank details.

The period in the lead-up to the tax credits renewal deadline often sees an increase in such attacks.

Customers who receive the credits have until 31 July to renew their claims or they run the risk of losing them.

Opportunistic scammers are using the deadline to send emails promising a rebate.

Taxpayers are invited to click on a link which takes them to a cloned replica of HMRC's website, where they are asked to provide credit and debit card details and other sensitive information such as passwords.

Victims risk having money stolen from their bank accounts, or their personal details being sold on to criminal gangs for identity fraud.

During last year's tax credits renewal period, from April to July, nearly 94,000 phishing emails were reported by customers.

Even though HMRC helped shut down more than 360 scam websites during the period, others continue to be created.

"We only ever contact customers who are due a tax refund in writing by post," said Steve Lamey, director general for benefits and credits.

"We don't use telephone calls, emails or external companies in these circumstances.

"Anyone who receives an email claiming to be from HMRC should send it to phishing@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk before deleting it permanently."

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