Internet fraudsters have sent a flurry of false emails in a bid to trick individuals filling their tax returns online before the Sunday deadline, government officials have said.
The dodgy emails tell the recipient that they are in line for a tax rebate and that they should then fill in a form which asks for credit card numbers and bank details. Unfortunate victims will then have their accounts emptied, their credit cards maxed out and also have the potential for other criminals to come into possession of said details.
Such scams are known as ‘phishing’ and HMRC have come out to alert potential victims of the trick. A spokesman said: “We never use e-mails, telephone calls or external companies in these circumstances. We strongly urge anyone receiving such an e-mail to send it to us for investigation before deleting it”.
According to HMRC more than 20,000 scam emails were sent out just the last week. They fear that even more fraudulent emails will be sent out after the deadline in a bid to trick individuals who are awaiting notifications of genuine tax returns. Previous investigations into such scam artists led to arrests made here in the UK and also abroad in Austria, Japan, Korea, Mexico and America.
Around 9.5 million people are expected to have completed their self-assessment forms online which is a considerable increase on last year’s 5.8 million.