Tax fraudsters get warning

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TAXPAYERS must be on their guard after a spate of fake ‘phishing’ emails sent out by fraudsters, after the self-assessment tax return deadline.

The email informs the recipient they are due a tax rebate, and provides a click-through link to a replica of the HMRC website, where they are asked for card details.

Fraudsters then try to take money from the account using the details provided. Victims risk having their bank accounts emptied and personal details sold on to other organised criminal gangs.

In the last three months, HMRC has shut down 99 websites that were responsible for sending out the fake tax rebate emails.

Chris Hopson, director of customer contact at HMRC, said: “As a matter of policy, HMRC will only ever contact customers who are due a tax refund in writing by post.

“If anyone receives an email offering a tax rebate claiming to be from HMRC, we recommend they forward it on email to phishing@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk before deleting it permanently.”

HMRC thoroughly investigates phishing attacks and works with other law enforcement agencies in the UK and overseas. In the last 18 months, scam networks have been shut down in a number of countries, including Austria, Mexico, the UK, South Korea, the USA, Thailand and Japan.