HMRC are warning taxpayers to be extra vigilant about emails offering them tax refunds. These ‘phishing’ scams, which are operated by illegal gangs, have increased to an all time high throughout July. HMRC reports that they have received over 15,000 reports of scam emails over the past twelve months.

Taxpayers have reported the receipt of emails requesting bank and credit card details in order to process a tax refund which they are told they are entitled to. HMRC have warned taxpayers that anyone responding to these emails is at risk of fraudulent activity on their credit card or bank account.

Recently similar phishing scams have been shut down in other overseas countries including USA and Thailand. HMRC continues to work with law enforcement agencies on this issue. Anyone receiving suspicious emails should forward them to phishing@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk and then immediately delete the email from your computer. Under no circumstances should you respond to the email or follow any links contained within.

Certain sender email addresses have already been identified as being linked to this scam. These include refundtax@hmrc.gov.co.uk, service@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk and hmrc@hmrc.gov.uk. The full list of email addresses to be wary of is listed at www.hmrc.gov.uk/security/index.htm. Emails often start with a sentence such as: “Following a review of your fiscal activity you are due a refund of tax of £…”

Chief Executive of HMRC, Lesley Strathie said: “We only ever contact customers who are due a refund in writing by post. We never use emails, telephone calls or external companies in these circumstances. I would strongly encourage anyone receiving such an email to immediately send it to us for investigation and delete it from their computer.”

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