Millions targeted in tax rebate scam
Online fraudsters are targeting millions of people in line for a tax rebate from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).
Earlier this year, HMRC informed almost five million taxpayers that they had either paid too much – or too little – tax during the 2010/11 tax year. It is now in the process of contacting people who have overpaid during this period. These payments, which will include interest, will average around £300.
But hackers have sent millions of emails to taxpayers, pretending to be from HMRC, to try to trick people into giving out their personal details. HMRC says it never sends out emails or contacts people by phone or SMS and will only contact people via post.
It warns people who receive suspect emails like this not to open any links within the email and not to give out any personal information. There are many fake email addresses used to send out these scam emails, for example: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com (a full list can be found on the website).
These emails look genuine and if you receive one you should forward them to firstname.lastname@example.org and then delete it.
Phishing scams are typically fraudulent email messages from seemingly legitimate sources (your internet service provider, mobile phone provider, bank etc). These messages usually direct you to a counterfeit website or ask you to divulge private information (password, PIN, credit card numbers, or other account updates), which is then used to commit identity theft.
A scheme originally established in 1944 to provide protection against sickness and unemployment as well as helping fund the National Health Service (NHS) and state benefits. NI contributions are compulsory and based on a person’s earnings above a certain threshold. There are several classes of NI, but which one an individual pays depends on whether they are employed, self-employed, unemployed or an employer. Payment of Class 1 contributions by employees gives them entitlement to the basic state pension, the additional state pension, jobseeker’s allowance, employment and support allowance, maternity allowance and bereavement benefits. From April 2016, to qualify for the full state pension, individuals will need 35 years’ of NI contributions.