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Thursday, 15 October 2009

Scam alert: tax refunds

HM Revenue & Customs have reported a record 83,000 scam emails offering fake tax refunds in September. The online attacks, known as 'phishing' have continued this month with 10,000 reports of the fraud made on day alone.

The scam email tells the recipient they are due a tax refund and then asks for bank account or credit card details. Anyone who gives these details to the fraudsters risks their bank accounts being emptied and credit cards maxed to their limit. The victim also risks having their personal details sold on to other criminal gangs. The latest version of this scam originates from different websites, which operate for 20 minutes before changing their domain name.

John Harrison, Head of HMRC Customer Contact Online, said: "We only contact customers who are due a refund in writing by post. We never use emails, telephone calls or external companies in these circumstances. I would strongly encourage anyone receiving such an email not to open it, send it to us for investigation at and then delete it from their computer."

HMRC is taking action to disrupt these attacks and through co-operation with other law enforcement agencies in the UK and overseas a number of scam networks have been shut down.
HMRC strongly advises customers to:

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.

If in doubt, please check it out with HMRC at:

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