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Scam emails promise tax rebates

Shropshire taxpayers have been warned to be on their guard after a wave of scam emails flooded the internet.

Keith Winter, of Dyke Yaxley Chartered Accountants, in Shrewsbury, said the emails came to light following the January deadline for self-assessment tax returns.

"Since the deadline passed, fake emails which claim to offer people tax rebates have been circulating on the internet.

"They include a link to a replica of the Inland Revenue and Customs website, and the taxpayer is then asked to provide their credit card details, which the fraudsters use to take money from their account."

Keith said in the last three months, HMRC had closed down 99 websites that were responsible for sending out the fraud emails.

"And as a matter of policy, HMRC only ever contact customers who may be due a tax refund in writing by post, so it's vital that taxpayers make sure they are alert to avoid becoming victims of this hi-tech scam."

If you receive an email offering a tax rebate claiming to be from HMRC, Keith said it should be sent to phishing@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk and then deleted permanently from your computer.

"If you do receive an email which looks suspicious, you can check if it's genuine by logging on to www.hmrc.gov.uk/security to see if the email is listed there.  

"And if it is a fraudulent email, don't ever click on the websites or links contained within it, or open any attachments, as you could be risking not only your computer's security, but your bank account too."

Keith said anyone who believed they had been the victim of an email scan should also report the incident to their bank or card issuer as soon as possible.

Keith Winter