HMRC warns of real risk from scam emails
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Issued 22 July 2009
Criminal gangs are targeting taxpayers with thousands of scam emails
offering bogus tax refunds. The online attacks, known as ‘phishing’, have
peaked during July leading to increased reports of fraud to HM Revenue &
The scams tell the recipient they are due a tax refund and ask for bank or
credit card details so that the fictitious tax refund can be paid out. HMRC is
warning customers about the possible dangers of falling for this scam during
this phase of increased attacks on UK residents.
All customers who provide their details to the fraudsters run a real risk
of their accounts being emptied and credit cards used to their limit. The
victim also risks having their personal details sold on to other organised
Lesley Strathie, HMRC Chief Executive said:
“We only ever 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 to
immediately send it to us for investigation and delete it from their
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 – most recently in July in Korea, Thailand, UK
HMRC strongly advises:
* Check the advice published to hmrc.gov.uk/security/index.htm to see if the
email you have received is listed.
* Forward suspicious email to HMRC at firstname.lastname@example.org and then
delete it from your computer / mail account.
Do not click on websites links contained in suspicious emails or open
* Follow advice from
www.getsafeonline.co.uk. 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
1. The scam email often begins with a sentence such as ‘Following a review
of your fiscal activity you are due a refund of tax of £XXX.’
2. HMRC previously warned the public about phishing attacks in January 2009
during the run-up to the deadline for online self-assessment tax returns.
3. The current increase in scam emails is partly due to people following
HMRC advice and forwarding them to the department’s security and fraud team.
4. In the last 12 months HMRC has received over 15,000 reports of fraudulent
5. Do not visit the website contained within the email or disclose any
personal or payment information.
Email addresses used to distribute the
tax rebate emails include:
HMRC does not send out emails using these email addresses.
Issued by HM Revenue & Customs Press Office
Press enquiries only please contact:
About the Author
© Crown Copyright 2009.
A licence is need to reproduce this article and has been republished for
educational / informational purposes only. Article reproduced by permission of
HM Revenue & Customs under the terms of a Click-Use Licence. Tax briefs are
updated regularly and may be out of date at time of reading.
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2009-07-26 19:27:46 in Tax Articles