Young adults who may have less experience of the tax system should be especially vigilant against springtime refund scams, warns HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
Scammers are increasingly targeting vulnerable or elderly people and those with less familiarity with the tax system, such as young adults.
During April and May, fraudsters regularly blitz taxpayers with refund scams by email or text pretending to be HMRC. Criminals do this to coincide with legitimate rebates being processed by HMRC.
They will encourage people to provide bank details, in exchange for a payment worth hundreds of pounds, on a fake government website to harvest private information and steal money. HMRC will never ask someone to provide bank details by text or email.
Last Spring alone, HMRC received around 250,000 reports of tax scams — which is nearly 2,500 a day — and requested that over 6,000 phishing websites be deactivated.
The tax authority is urging anyone who knows someone that could be vulnerable to scams to be warned and prepared. HMRC’s top tips:
Recognise the signs – genuine organisations like banks and HMRC will never contact you out of the blue to ask for your PIN, password or bank details.
HMRC will never advise you of a refund in an e-mail or SMS message.
- Stay safe – don’t give out private information, reply to text messages, download attachments or click on links in emails you weren’t expecting.
- Take action – forward suspicious emails and details of suspicious calls claiming to be from HMRC to email@example.com texts to 60599, if you have suffered financial loss contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or uyse their on-line reporting tool
- Check GOV.UKfor information on how to avoid and report scams and recognise genuine HMRC contact.
If you think you have received an HMRC related phishing/bogus email or text message, you can check it against the examples shown in this guide