Taxpayers are being warned by HMRC not to fall for fake email ‘phishing’ scams being sent out by fraudsters as the self-assessment deadline approaches.
Thousands of people have received emails saying they are entitled to a tax rebate, which then direct them to a fake version of the HMRC website which asks for their bank or credit card details in order to pay out the refund. Once the details are obtained users are redirected to the actual HMRC website, often leaving victims with no idea that they have been conned.
HMRC has helped to shut down 185 websites identified as associated with the scam emails in the past 3 months alone. Joan Wood, HMRC’s digital director advised that taxpayers who are owed a refund will only ever be contacted by post and never email, telephone or through an external company.
“HMRC will do everything possible to ensure that those people who receive this email know how best to protect their information, we are working closely with other law enforcement agencies to target the criminals behind this crime and see them brought to justice.” Said Wood, “If anyone receives an email claiming to be from HMRC please send it to email@example.com before deleting it permanently.”
Scam networks in countries across the world have been uncovered thanks to the efforts of HMRC and its partner institutions; anyone who believes they have been the victim of a scam should report the matter to their bank immediately..