Scam HMRC emails increase 300%

THE NUMBER of scam “phishing” emails purportedly from HM Revenue & Customs has increased by 300% over the past year.

Almost 24,000 of these emails were sent in August – a three-fold increase on 2010 levels, HMRC confirmed. The Revenue is currently shutting down 100 scam websites a month.

The emails include a link to a cloned replica of the HMRC website. The recipient is asked to provide credit or debit card details. Victims risk not only have their personal accounts emptied, but also have their information sold to criminal gangs, HMRC said.

Joan Wood, director of HMRC Online and Digital, said: “We only ever contact customers who are due a tax refund in writing by post. We currently don’t use telephone calls, emails or external companies in these circumstances. If anyone receives an email claiming to be from HMRC, please send it to before deleting it permanently.

“The increase in reports is partly due to improved awareness of this scam. However, I have no doubt that more of these “phishing” emails are in general circulation than ever before.”

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