Tax Refund Phishing E-mails Targeting HMRC on Rise

According to a warning issued by HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs) UK, e-mail scams related to tax refund are on the rise. The e-mails pretending as messages from HMRC allegedly inform the recipients that tax refund is due for them. However, the scammers sending the spam mails ask for the recipients' credit card or bank account particulars where the refund could be deposited.

Explaining the problem, Internet security experts stated that the 'tax refund' malicious campaign's fresh version depended on an online form with HMRC logo, where taxpayers reveal their personal financial account information without realizing its illegitmacy.

Although users would find the latest period for tax collection (2008-09) cited in the form, its sender apparently misspelled a word 'annual' as 'annual, indicating to its bogusness'

Martin McDonnell, Senior Press Officer for Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland, HMRC, said - anybody getting the e-mail shouldn't click on any given web-link, instead forward it to the Revenue and Customs bureau, as reported by BBC on October 1, 2009.

McDonnell explained that the spammers were compromising e-mail accounts globally in order to distribute blanket e-mails indicating people were entitled for a tax refund. Thereafter, they solicited the recipients to answer the spam mails by providing their credit card or bank account details for the refund amount's submission.

The bureau's officers further advised that in case anyone got an e-mail informing him about a tax refund and asked for his financial account particulars via e-mail, he shouldn't reply to it since HMRC wouldn't ever dispatch an electronic message to anybody telling him the above. However, HMRC get in touch with him through postal mail.

HMRC has released security tips on the ways consumers could defend themselves against phishing and scams targeting its website, It has also encouraged citizens getting such dubious e-mails to send the same over to phishing@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk.

Besides, phishing e-mails purporting to be from HMRC and talking of tax refund have been in circulation for long time. During September 2009, a similar e-mail supposedly from securemail@hmrc.gov.uk allegedly stated that recipients were entitled for a tax reimbursement, so they must fill in a form or follow a web-link for submitting a tax-reimbursement application.

Related article: TCU Graduate Seeks Professional Help to Invade University Network

» SPAMfighter News - 22-10-2009

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