Beware - online tax refund scams on the increase

HM Revenue & Customs have issued a warning to taxpayers after seeing a 47% surge in online tax refund scams.

The fraudulent e-mails attempt to deceive taxpayers into disclosing their bank account, credit or debit card details. Typically, they request details such as the victim's name, address, date of birth, bank account number, sort code, credit card details, National Insurance number, passwords and mother's maiden name. Monies are then taken from victims' bank accounts.

Head of Security at HMRC Gareth Lloyd said;

"The con artists behind the e-mails never contact customers who are due a tax refund via e-mail.  We always send a letter through the post".

In three months before the end of January 2014 customers reported 23,247 phishing emails to HMRC - a 47% rise on the same period a year earlier.  During 2013, customers reported over 91,000 phishing emails to HMRC.

As a result of customers forwarding the e-mails to HMRC, they were able to close 178 websites which it found were the source of these e-mails. During 2013, HMRC closed down 1,476 websites sending these types of scam e-mails.

Gareth Lloyd added;

"If you receive an email claiming to be from HMRC which offers a tax rebate, please send it to and then delete it permanently. We can, and do close these websites down, and do all we can to ensure taxpayers stay safe online by working with law enforcement agencies around the world to target the criminals behind these scams."

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