People are being warned about a new HMRC scam, which has fraudsters promising tax rebates in order to trick people into disclosing their account and personal details.
The scam involves emails and text messages which include links thattake the user to dubious websites where their information can be stolen.
The tax authority is currently processing tax refunds after the end of the 2017 to 2018 tax year. However, criminals are taking advantage of this by sending out scam emails and SMS-messages to trick the public into thinking they have received a tax rebate so they hand over their account and personal details.
Treasury Minister Mel Stride MP, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, said, “HMRC only informs you about tax refunds through the post or through your pay via your employer. All emails, text messages, or voicemail messages saying you have a tax refund are a scam. Do not click on any links in these messages, and forward them to HMRC’s phishing email address and phone number.
“We know that criminals will try and use events like the end of the financial year, the self-assessment deadline, and the issuing of tax refunds to target the public and attempt to get them to reveal their personal data. It is important to be alert to the danger.”
HMRC advises customers:
- HMRC sometimes use phone calls or automated messages (generally using a reference number that you recognise) but are unlikely to contact you about a matter such as this out of the blue
- Telephone numbers can easily be faked. You should never trust the number you see on your telephone display, even if it looks like an official HMRC number.
- If you receive a suspicious cold call, end it immediately. Call HMRC directly to check if it was a genuine call.
- You should report these incidents on the Action Fraud website, or you can call them on 0300 123 2040 (please note this number will be charged at your normal network rate). They are open Monday to Friday 09:00 - 18:00.
- You should also report the full details of the scam to HMRC (date, time, phone number used and content of the call) using email firstname.lastname@example.org
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