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West Berkshire Warns People against Tax Refund Phishing Scam

West Berkshire Council is alerting local residents about an internet scam which offers tax refunds but it could put the safety of their bank details in danger.

A mail with subject - 'Dear Applicant' seems to have come from David Craig of HM revenue and Customs and invites the recipient to fill an online form which requires them to reveal their private details.

The message connects to a web page branded with a logo of HMRC. It also carries a tax refund ID number and asks the user to check all details they have provided is correct or not.

It is learnt that the warning, issued by the trading standards services of the council, comes after a council worker got the mail. Further, local residents were reporting a doubtful mail which declared that they were entitled to get a tax refund.

However, officials claimed that mails of these kinds were not from HMRC and the public should not to reply to any mail asking for further details.

Councilor Hilary Cole, Executive Member for Public Protection, West Berkshire', stated that HMRC clarified that they did not notify customers about tax rebates through mail. She also added that this was a new example of scams sent to gather people's bank and card information. People should be alert and make sure that they do not fall to these lucrative schemes, as per the reports by NEWBURYTODAY on August 18, 2009.

Further, the Council's Trading Standards Manager stated that these enticing schemes were circulating freely on the web. They also asked the users to be alert. If people want to forward any scam mail, message or anything (including prize draws and foreign lotteries), they can send it to them.

Meanwhile, officials said that such mails seemed to have come from banks, government departments and insurance firms. If anyone has any concerns, they should contact the Trading Standards Service.

In addition, these phishing mails are frequently attacking people in the area. In March 2009, people received phony mails which informed the recipient that he was eligible to get a tax refund of £252.50.

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