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HMRC - Fake Refund E-mails Tricking Tax Payers

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has exposed several e-mails that have been received by people who use self-assessment forms.

The fake e-mail usually contains a bogus link, which if clicked on by the recipient, will direct him to a fraudulent or a phishing website. This site will provoke him to disclose the details of his bank account or credit cards. Anyone revealing these details will expose his hard earned money to high risk, as fraudsters drain the victim's bank account or misuse his credit card details.

According to Neil Munroe, External Affairs Director, Equifax (a credit reporting firm), phishers tend to target tax payers as the deadlines of filing tax returns are coming closer and are trying to entice them by promising lucrative tax refunds, as reported by bytestart on May 5, 2009.

Most of these phishing e-mails may be able to convince the unaware Internet users, according to security experts. Here, it should be remembered that HMRC notifies the people eligible for tax refunds by post and not by an e-mail.

While the phishing e-mails are still in circulation, HMRC has come forward to caution tax-payers to remain wary of this latest Internet scam that dodges people about a fake tax refund in the name of HMRC.

Equifax has advised people to look for the "padlock" sign at the right hand corner on the bottom of their web browsers while logging on to the online services of HMRC. This will verify the authenticity of the link embedded in the e-mail. Moreover, the firm also suggested tax-payers to search got their names in the beginning of the e-mail. In case, they are not addressed individually, they must reject the e-mail as fake.

Equifax also urges people to delete such fake e-mails as soon as they receive them. Even then, if a person has become victim to the phishing scam, he should contact his bank without any delay. By doing this, he will avoid the illegal withdrawal of his cash from the bank, as then his account will be monitored by the security department of the bank.

Related article: HMRC Issues Warning of Phishing Attacks for Contractors

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