‘Phishing’ Emails – HMRC Urges Caution

HMRC warns tax credits claimants over scam emails

Most users of email are familiar with dubious messages purporting to be from their bank requesting account details. However, tax credits claimants are being warned about scams or ‘phishing’ emails that are being sent out by fraudsters in the run-up to the 31 July renewal deadline. On 16 June 2014, HMRC stated that nearly 24,839 phishing emails were reported during last year’s tax credits renewal period, which runs from April to July, and HMRC have warned of a recent surge in their use.

HMRC took action to close down 1,740 illegal sites in 2013, most originating in Turkey, Spain and Bulgaria. Phishing emails also came from the UK and the US, often promising money back and including a link to a fake replica of the HMRC website. One such scam is contained in an email circulated from taxreturn@hmrc.gov.uk telling recipients about a 2013 tax refund report

These scams can easily catch people out, especially if they are actually expecting a refund. The aim of such emails is to obtain bank account or credit card information. They often ask for the recipient’s name, address, date of birth, bank account number sort code, credit card details, national insurance number, passwords and mother’s maiden name. Nick Lodge, Director General of Benefits and Credits, HMRC, said that they will never ask people to disclose personal or payment information by email and that people need to be wary of emails with attachments which might contain viruses.

If you have uncovered such an email then let us know and we can notify HMRC. 

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