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New warning over HMRC phishing emails

 

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is alerting individuals to a possible surge in the number of scam or ‘phishing’ emails being sent in the run-up to the tax credits renewal deadline.

 

Nearly 22,000 phishing emails were reported to HMRC during last year’s tax credits renewal period, which spans April to July, and the tax authority expects to see a similar trend this year.

 

While 147 scam websites were closed down during the 2012 renewal period, HMRC has warned that more sites are being created.

 

The emails often promise a tax refund in exchange for personal, credit card or banking details. Victims are usually taken to a fake replica of the HMRC website, yet those who respond risk exposing themselves to fraud and having their personal information passed on to criminal gangs.

 

HMRC states that it would not ask customers for personal or payment information via email, and is advising taxpayers not to surrender sensitive details.

 

‘HMRC will never ask you to disclose personal or payment information by email,’ said Nick Lodge, director general of benefits and credits at HMRC.

 

‘We are committed to your online security, but the methods fraudsters use to obtain information are constantly changing, so you need to be alert.’

 

Suspicious HMRC emails should be forwarded to: phishing@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk.