Scam alert: Warning over fake HMRC tax refund emails

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Local residents have been warned to be wary of scam emails from fraudsters claiming to represent Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs.

Upper Bann MLA Jo-Anne Dobson has warned that a number of fake emails have been circulated to local people claiming that they are due a tax refund.

However, the emails direct the recipients to a fake HMRC website which prompts them to then provide personal information including their credit card details, driving licence and National Insurance numbers.

Mrs Dobson, who has reported a number of fake emails and websites to HMRC on behalf of local people, has urged the public to be cautious.

“The emails and websites all at first sight appear genuine, with HMRC logos, plausible messages and reference numbers, but only on closer inspection does it become clear that they are far from it,” she said.

“The fraudsters behind them are attempting to prey on the vulnerable and the fact that they are sneaky enough to request credit card details, supposedly to make a tax refund, is extremely devious.

“Revenue and Customs officials have confirmed to me that they will never use texts or emails to inform people about a tax rebate or penalty, or to ask for any personal or payment information.

“It’s very important that, no matter how plausible the appearance of the message, that people don’t give out their private information including bank details or passwords in reply to text messages, download attachments or click on any links in emails if you’re not sure they’re genuine.”

Anyone who has unwittingly disclosed their personal information in reply to a suspicious email or text should contact HMRC at security.custcon@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk

Misleading websites or phone numbers should also be reported to Action Fraud via their helpline - 0300 123 2040 or their website - www.actionfraud.police.uk