Protect yourself from fraudsters posing as the taxman
28 July 2008
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) have announced that they have become aware of a new attempted fraud occurring, which revolves around an e-mail supposedly from HMRC. The article from HMRC’s website is published below. If you receive unexpected correspondence from HMRC, particularly by e-mail, we suggest you check with your accountant before paying any money or giving away any personal details.
Normal logic applies with these sort of scams – always visit websites by typing in a known webpage rather than clicking on links, and contact organisations on a telephone number you have obtained from a telephone directory rather than from the e-mail or letter which is potentially fraudulent.
The HMRC article follows:
Existing fraud attempts
We want to make sure you can recognise a fraudulent email if you receive one. We have produced the list below of recent fraudulent emails that have been brought to our attention and will update regularly with news of new phishing activity.
Please note: If you suspect you have received a fraudulent email please do not follow any links within the email, disclose any details or respond to it. Forward it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We cannot reply on each email we receive, but the information will be used to help reduce online fraud.
Current email scams
The following phishing activity is the most frequently reported fraud attempt to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) at the present time.
'Customs Service' email - 25 July 2008
An email is being issued informing the recipient that a parcel has been received for them and is being held en-route from France, it then requests that the customer fills out a customs declaration. This is not an official HMRC email.
There is an attachment to the email. Attachments can contain viruses and should not be opened.
If you have received an email such as this, please be aware that HMRC do not pursue money in this way. Please forward the email to us at email@example.com.
Tax rebate - updated 2 July 2008
We are aware of a high number of emails being sent out offering a tax rebate. HMRC would not inform customers of a tax rebate via email, or invite them to complete an online form to receive a rebate of tax.
Do not visit the website contained within the email or disclose any personal or payment information.
Email addresses used to distribute the tax rebate emails include:
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) does not send out emails using these email addresses
An example of the tax rebate scam:
Example 1 (PDF 286K) (added 11 June 2008).
Example 2 (added 14 August 2007).
Example 3 (added 14 August 2007).
New frauds identified are updated on the HMRC website at http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/security/examples.htm