Scammers still netting millions from phoney tax e-mails

The FBI, brought to the screen in the shape of TV series Homeland, has dealt with hoaxes costing US taxpayers more than �150m

The FBI, brought to the screen in the shape of TV series Homeland, has dealt with hoaxes costing US taxpayers more than �150m

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A NEW wave of scams in which victims fall for e-mails claiming to be from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has forced the tax office to issue new clarification over its contact methods.

Spoof e-mails purporting to be from HMRC and telling the recipient that they are due a tax refund have been doing the rounds for some time and show no sign of letting up.

The e-mails ask the recipient to click on a link that appears to be for HMRC and then to enter details including their bank records. That information then allows fraudsters to take money from the victim’s account.

Similar hoaxes in the US in cost taxpayers 
 $240 million (£150m) in 2007 alone, the FBI has estimated.

Ronnie Ludwig, partner at Saffery Champness Scotland, said: “Although these messages have been doing the rounds for a while, many people still believe them to be genuine as some scams appear more credible than others.”

HMRC has published a reminder that it never sends notifications of a tax rebate by e-mail, or asks individual to disclose personal or payment information by e-mail.

A selection of fake e-mail addresses used to distribute the tax rebate e-mails can be seen on its website at http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/security/examples.htm.