HMRC Never Asks For Info By Email
Always check with HMRC if you are unsure.
Many people are being sent bogus emails appearing to offer them a UK income tax rebate from HMRC.
The emails are often cleverly disguised, making them look legitimate, but HMRC NEVER send out emails about income tax refunds or financial matters – they ONLY send such information by post. If you are unsure then call HMRC directly or ask your accountant or agent to check for you. HMRC will never mind you double checking with them and it is better to be safe than sorry.
The emails typically begin with an opening sentence such as ‘we have reviewed your income tax return; according to our income tax calculations, you are due an income tax refund of £X is due’ and they often look like they come from a plausible email address or have the correct HMRC colours and design.
These counterfeit emails are a “phishing scam”, designed to get hold of people’s bank details, to either clear out their account or sell on their financial information to overseas fraud gangs.
According to HM Revenue and Customs, almost 25,000 phishing emails were reported within the three months leading up to the online self-assessment deadline on January 31, which shows an alarming 47% increase over the same period in 2013.
To combat the fraudsters and ensure that taxpayers stay safe online HMRC is working alongside law enforcement agencies around the world. A specialist team of HMRC online investigators have already shut down 178 phishing websites, to add to the 1,500 sites closed by the revenue body in 2013, in overseas locations such as the United States, Russia and China.
People who receive any bogus emails are asked to forward them to firstname.lastname@example.org, in order for investigators to track down its geographical location and shut down the sham website.