Beware of internet ‘tax rebate’ scam, warns HMRC

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HM REVENUE & Customs (HMRC) is warning taxpayers in Eastbourne not to fall victim to ‘phishing’ emails sent out by fraudsters in the run-up to the self-assessment deadline of January 31.

The email tells the recipient they are due a tax rebate, and provides a link to a clone of HMRC’s website where the recipient is asked to give their credit card or bank details.

Fraudsters then try 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.

In the last three months, HMRC has helped shut down 185 websites that were responsible for sending out the fake tax rebate emails.

Joan Wood, director of HMRC Online and Digital, said, “We only ever contact customers who are due a tax refund in writing by post. We currently don’t use telephone calls, emails or external companies in these circumstances.

“If anyone in the South East receives an email claiming to be from HMRC, please send it to phishing@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk before deleting it permanently.”