Tax season has arrived, with millions of people sorting out their affairs at this time of year. However, criminals are seizing the opportunity to spread dangerous scams which could have devastating consequences.
One such scam has been shared by email, claiming people are due a tax refund.
The fake email, which contains seemingly official HMRC branding, reads: “HM Revenue and Customs owes you £6784.92. This is the second reminder. If you miss, and you don’t register, you will suffer the consequences of the new law in force.
“This means that the amount of income tax you will pay will change.
“You can get your refund fast, straight into your bank account, if you claim online through your Personal Tax allowance.
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Sadly, scammers are preying on a common desire people have to not miss out on cash – particularly if they believe they have overpaid tax.
However, this email is not legitimate, and Britons should never click the link contained within.
This is because it is a common scam technique, designed to harvest people’s personal details.
When redirected to what is supposedly the HMRC website, people are likely to be asked to enter their banking details to supposedly process a payment.
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But instead, criminals have set up a fake website from which they can take a person’s details and use these to clear out the victim’s bank account.
Alternatively, the details could be used by fraudsters to commit identity fraud, or sold on to other criminals for future scams.
This scam has nothing to do with the real HMRC, and a spokesperson confirmed to Express.co.uk the Revenue will never send notifications by email about tax rebates or refunds.
The spokesperson added: “Tax scams come in many forms. Some threaten immediate arrest for tax evasion, others offer a rebate.
“To help us fight these crimes, forward suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC to email@example.com.
“You can also contact HMRC directly but make sure you use phone numbers from our contact details on GOV.UK.”
HMRC has confirmed in the last year, it has responded to more than 78,276 reports of suspicious contact offering bogus tax rebates.
The Revenue has also reported more than 18,589 malicious web pages for takedown in the last year.
If a person believes they have become victim to a scam, they are encouraged to report the matter to Action Fraud.