Feeds

HMRC warns over tax email scams

Death and taxes and crime

Boost IT visibility and business value

The Treasury has taken the unusual step of warning UK taxpayers of a phishing scam doing the rounds, which looks to ensnare frantic last-minute tax return filers.

Bogus email warnings designed to trick citizens into handing over sensitive personal details are circulating in the run-up to the 31 January Self Assessment tax deadline. The scam messages claim that recipients are entitled to a tax refund and ask for bank or credit card details so that the fictitious refund can be paid out. The emails come from spoofed email addresses so that they might appear to come from tax authorities.

HMRC is working with the authorities to take sites associated with the scam offline. Phishing sites hosted in Austria, Mexico, USA, Thailand and Japan have already been pulled down.

In addition, some fraudsters are going to the additional trouble of phoning up prospective marks, similarly posing as tax officials arranging rebate payments. Punters who fall for either variant of the scam risk having their bank accounts emptied or credit cards maxed out, HMRC warns.

HM Revenue & Customs warns that further scam emails along the same lines might be expected even after the deadline passes at the end of the month. Genuine tax officials will only contact people by letter, it adds.

"This is the most sophisticated and prolific phishing scam that we have encountered," said Lesley Strathie, HMRC Chief Executive, in a statement. "We only ever contact customers who are due a refund in writing by post. We never use emails, telephone calls or external companies in these circumstances.

"I would strongly encourage anyone receiving such an email to send it to us for investigation."

Since April 2008 HMRC has received over 11,000 reports of fraudulent repayment emails. HMRC's general advice on the issue can be found here.

Net security firm McAfee adds: "We have seen over 20 different HRMC phishing scams since October and six different examples since 2 January alone. It's a very topical phishing scam, as people are seeing TV adverts and receiving letters reminding them of the approaching deadline." ®

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft: We plan to CLEAN UP this here Windows Store town
Paid-for apps that provide free downloads? Really
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors
GPU-powered pen test yields more bad news about defences and passwords
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Hear ye, young cyber warriors of the realm: GCHQ wants you
Get involved, get a job and then never discuss work ever again
Chinese hackers spied on investigators of Flight MH370 - report
Classified data on flight's disappearance pinched
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?