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Huge increase in emails from criminals posing as the tax man, UK authorities reveal PDF Print E-mail
News - Tax
Friday, 13 August 2010 10:29
The British taxman is warning of an increase in thieves making phone calls pretending to be legitimate officials.
 
It is warning taxpayers to be extra vigilant after a surge in the number of fraudsters contacting people saying they are due a tax rebate. They then ask for their bank card details over the phone and attempt to take money from the account using the details provided.
 
Victims risk having their bank accounts emptied and their personal details sold on to other organised criminal gangs, said HMRC.
   
The warning comes amid a recent surge in the number of tax scam phishing emails reported to HMRC. In the last three months, HMRC has shut down over 180 websites that were responsible for sending out the fake tax rebate emails.
   
‘We only ever contact customers who are due a tax refund in writing by post. We never use telephone calls, emails or external companies in these circumstances. We strongly urge anyone receiving such a phone call not to give any information to the caller, but report it to the police straightaway,’ said Chris Hopson, director of customer contact at HMRC.
 
‘If customers receive an email claiming to be from HMRC, we recommend they send it to us for investigation before deleting it permanently,’ he added.
 
He explained that 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.
 
He said customers can check HMRC’s website to see if the email they have received is listed and if it is suspicious they should forward it to HMRC and then delete it. He advises against clicking on websites and links contained in suspicious emails or opening attachments.
 
‘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,’ he added.
 

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