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Watch out for phishing emails offering tax rebates, warns HM Tax Office

PUBLISHED: 16:26 10 February 2014 | UPDATED: 16:26 10 February 2014

Email scams are being operated by gangs offering tax rebates in return for your bank account or credit card details, taxpayers are being warned.

More than 23,000 ‘phishing’ emails were reported to HM Revenue & Customs in the three months up to Christmas, it was revealed this week.

Now taxpayers in east London are being urged not to be fooled by dodgy emails offering tax refunds.

“We never use emails to contact people who are due a tax refund,” said the Revenue Department’s digital security chief Gareth Lloyd. “It’s always a letter through the post.

“Anyone receiving an email claiming to be from HMRC which offers a rebate should forward it to us—then delete it permanently.”

Anyone responding to this type of email risks opening their bank account to fraudsters and having their details sold on to organised criminal gangs, the tax office warns.

The Revenue Department managed to close 178 websites last month alone, where scam emails originated. It shut down nearly 1,500 during the whole of 2013.

The tax office is working with police and other enforcement agencies around the world “to target the criminals behind the scams.”

Anyone receiving a ‘phishing’ email is being urged to forward it on to Tax Office investigators on phishing@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk

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