Phishing warning over tax rebates

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Fraudsters are taking advantage of the end of the ‘tax return season’.

Although the personal tax return filing deadline has come to an end, there has been a steady increase in the number of scam emails and SMS-messages promising tax rebates.

Fraudsters are trying to trick people into disclosing their account and personal details by distributing phishing campaigns pretending to be from HMRC.

A phishing campaign is when fraudsters ‘fish’ for victims by sending urgent messages via emails, text messages, phone calls and social media.

How to protect yourself*

  • Don’t click on links, or open any attachments.
  • Always install software updates as soon as they’re available.
  • Install anti-virus software on your computer and mobile devices, and keep it updated. Create regular backups of your important files to an external hard drive, memory stick or online storage provider.
  • If you have clicked on the links, run antivirus software.
  • Fraudsters ‘spoof’ an email address to make it look like one used by someone you trust. Check the email header to identify the true source.
  • Don’t assume anyone who has tried to contact you (via email/phone) is who they say they are.
  • If you are asked to make a payment, log in to an online account or offered a deal, be cautious. Real banks never email you for passwords or any other sensitive information. If you get a call from someone who claims to be from your bank, don't give away any personal details.
  • Make sure your spam filter is on your emails. If you find a suspicious email, mark it as spam and delete it to keep out similar emails in future.
  • If in doubt, check it’s genuine by asking the company itself.

“HMRC will never send notifications of a tax rebate or ask you to disclose personal or payment information by email or text message,” said Peter Way-Rider, tax manager at Ellis & Co Chartered Accountants and Business Advisers.

Forward suspicious emails and details of suspicious phone calls to HMRC’s phishing team:

Forward suspicious text messages to 60599, text messages charged at your network rate.