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.
If you have received one of these emails and have already given out personal information, such as your national insurance number, you should email the details to email@example.com.