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HMRC Issues Warning of Phishing Attacks for Contractors

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has asked contractors working through limited companies or sole traders to remain vigilant against rising number of phishing scams.

Phishing is a technique in which internet users receive malicious e-mails sent by cyber criminals who pretend to be representative of a company or legitimate organization to deceive them into revealing their personal sensitive information which is later on exploited for doing malicious activities.

HMRC has issued this warning in wake of excessive rise in frauds targeting its members. Moreover, cyber criminals have been sending e-mails from fake accounts to taxpayers about helping them to get tax refunds.

The e-mails convince the taxpayers that they are eligible for refund but they need to send a reply to this e-mail along with bank account details. In some cases, the e-mails inform businessmen and people that their tax refund is due and they should send details of their bank accounts for getting the refund.

Apart from bank account details, some e-mails ask the recipients that they should forward their credit card details. Hence, people who send reply to these e-mails become vulnerable of losing their personal details to organized criminal gangs.

However, Lesley Strathie, HMRC Chief Executive, said that they contacted people eligible for refund by post, as reported by Crystal Umbrella on July 30, 2009.

He further said that they didn't use telephone, e-mail or any external company to inform the eligible people. People who received such e-mails should forward them to the organization for further investigations and delete them from their inboxes.

The organization further suggested that people should restrain from handing over their credit card details unless they were directly contacted by the company. If anyone receives an e-mail asking for bank details, then it is surely a scam from a fraudster who tries to grab the information.

HMRC previously issued a similar warning against phishing attacks in January 2009 in the pretext of completion of online self-assessment tax return before deadline.

Related article: HMRC - Fake Refund E-mails Tricking Tax Payers

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