Watch out for scam emails promising tax rebates

You may have noticed it was the deadline for filing self-assessment tax returns on 31 January – we may have mentioned it once or twice!

A record-breaking 8.48 million tax returns were filed, but HMRC is also reporting another record – the number of phishing emails promising tax rebates. Between 1 November 2013 and 31 January 2014, 23,247 phishing emails were reported to HMRC. In the whole of 2013, 91,000 phishing emails were reported to HMRC.

What are these emails, and what does it mean to me?

HMRC never contacts you by email to tell you about a rebate. In this case, “never” really does mean “never”. If you receive any email claiming to be from HMRC and telling you that you’re getting a tax rebate, it’s a fake.

If you respond, you may be handing over your bank details to a fraudster.

Also, you should never open any zip file in the email – it’s likely to have a virus.

Gareth Lloyd, Head of Digital Security at HMRC, said:

“HMRC never contacts customers who are due a tax refund via email – we always send a letter through the post. If you receive an email claiming to be from HMRC which offers a tax rebate, please send it to [email protected] and then delete it permanently. We can, and do, close these websites down, and do all we can to ensure taxpayers stay safe online by working with law enforcement agencies around the world to target the criminals behind these scams.”

You can see examples of the fake emails here.

I’ve already received one – what do I do?

If you’ve already received one of these emails and have responded it, please forward the email to [email protected] .

Any questions?

If you would like to arrange a free meeting with a Liverpool accountant to discuss personal tax, either at our office or at your premises, please contact us on 0151 380 3800 or by email at [email protected].

Alternatively, you can use our website contact form.

For tax tips and ideas to boost your profits, please sign up for our email updates.

Added by Jon Davies

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