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UK taxpayers hit by wave of tax refund scam mail

80,000 in September, 10,000 in a single day in October

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HMRC has warned taxpayers to be on their guard against a new slew of phishing attacks touting fake tax rebates.

The UK's tax men said that 83,000 scam emails were brought to its attention last month, while 10,000 reports of the attempted fraud were reported on just one day this month.

The scamsters tempt their marks by saying they are due a tax refund and all they need to do is hand over their credit card or bank account details. If they do their accounts are inevitably looted, and their details then sold on to other ID scammers.

Apparently the scam is emerging from a variety of different sites, which operate for 20 minutes before changing domain name.

HMRC said it was "taking action to disrupt these attacks and... a number of scam networks have been shut down".

However, this seems unlikely to scupper the scam for very long. The revenue was forced to issue similar warnings in January and July.

In January, HMRC said it had received 11,000 reports of such scam emails since the previous April. Even allowing for greater awareness and reporting of scams amongst taxpayers, this suggests a massive ramp-up by the scammers targeting UK taxpayers.

Consequently, citizens would be advised to remember that HMRC's policy is to only contact potential refundees by post. ®

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