Tax Credit Claimants Warned Over Scam Emails

21 May 2013

Tax credits claimants are being warned about scam or “phishing” emails sent out by fraudsters in the run-up to the renewal deadline.

The warning comes as HMRC has launched an advertising campaign to remind claimants to renew their tax credits or their payments might stop.

During last year’s tax credits renewals period, from April to July, nearly 22,000 phishing emails were reported to HMRC. Although the department worked with other agencies to shut down more than 147 scam websites during the period, others continue to be created.

Phishing emails often promise money back and, if the recipient clicks on a link, they are taken to a fake replica of the HMRC website. They are then asked to provide credit or debit card details or other sensitive information such as passwords. The fraudsters then try to take money from their account.

Money may be stolen from victims’ bank accounts, or their personal details can be sold to criminal gangs, leading to possible identify theft.

HMRC will never ask you to disclose personal or payment information by email.

HMRC asks customers to:

  • check HMRC online security advice
  • forward suspicious emails to HMRC at phishing@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk and then delete them
  • avoid clicking on websites or links in suspicious emails, or opening attachments

Advice can also be found on the Get Safe Online website.

If someone believes that they have been the victim of an email scam, they should report the matter to their bank or credit card issuer immediately. Anyone in doubt should check with HMRC.

Scam emails often request name, address, date of birth, bank account number, sort code, credit card details, national insurance number, passwords and mother’s maiden name.

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