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New Internet Fraud Using Tax Refund as Bait

According to a warning by chartered accountants based in the South West England, companies and individuals need to watch out for a e-mail scam that is offering tax rebates and claiming its source from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

The phishing e-mail displays the HMRC logo and allegedly refers to a refund covering the 2007-08-tax year.

The WESCA (West of England Society of Chartered Accountants) stated that the e-mail claimed that HMRC requires the recipient's credit card particulars to deposit the tax refund directly to his/her card account, as reported by ExperianQAS on August 12, 2008.

According to Lee Ashton, Spokesperson of WESCA, the card phishing scam could easily dupe unwary users and turn them into victims.

Meanwhile, the scam e-mail works by directing the recipient to print and fill out a form with details of his/her payment card along with his/her billing address and date of birth. It further asks the recipient to put down the date and his/her signature on the form. Lastly, the e-mail requests the recipient to send the filled form through fax to the 'Tax Refund Department' at a number given.

According to Clive Brown, President of the WESCA, as people are preparing to go for summer vacations, they might, in attempts to get their tasks completed, not read through the e-mail carefully and thus, become vulnerable to the fraudsters' ploy, as reported by thisisexeter on August 12, 2008.

Brown further said that users should become alert if asked to disclose their credit card information. While HMRC never seeks such information, the 'tax return' e-mail appears convincing at first glance that could eventually dupe people.

Furthermore, Lisa Billard, Spokeswoman for HMRC, said that the e-mail was simply part of a scam that recipients should avoid responding to. Billard, who described it as a refined attempt to launch an online fraud, said that anyone encountering it must not answer it or submit any personal information, as reported by thisisexeter on August 12, 2008.

However, companies can help counteract fraud during any business deal if they adopt measures that would responsibly authenticate the user's veracity.

Related article: New Zealand Releases Code To Reduce Spam

» SPAMfighter News - 8/26/2008

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