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HMRC issues tax rebate scam warning

11 Feb 2014

Taxpayers have been urged by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) to be aware of emails promising tax refunds, following January’s self assessment deadline.

Over 91,000 fake emails were reported by customers in 2013. In the three months before the deadline, reports of such scams were up 47% compared with the same period in the previous year.

In 2013 the department closed down 1,476 websites which falsely claimed to represent HMRC and offered tax rebates. In emails from such websites, customers are asked for sensitive information – including their name, bank account details, national insurance number and various passwords.

Gareth Lloyd, head of digital security at HMRC, said: ‘HMRC never contacts customers who are due a tax refund via email – we always send a letter through the post’.

Concerned customers who contacted HMRC enabled 178 fraudulent websites to be closed last month alone. Anyone wishing to report a suspicious email should forward it to: phising@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk.