A new type of HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) email scam has been circulating ahead of next week’s self-assessment tax return deadline.
According to reports, fraudsters have been sending out opportunistic emails informing recipients that they are owed money by HMRC and must create a Government Gateway account in order to receive payment.
In England and Wales, anyone who files a self-assessment tax return does indeed need a Government Gateway account in order to interact with the Revenue. However, these bogus emails are inviting recipients to click on a link which will redirect them to a fraudulent web page, requesting reams of personal information from the potential victim.
In some cases, recipients of this phishing email have even been asked to provide their full bank accounts details, a report on LoveMoney.com suggests.
Similar scams have been growing increasingly common in recent years, and taxpayers are being urged to be on the lookout and to approach any unsolicited communication purporting to be from HMRC with caution.
HMRC itself has been trying to combat the problem using new software, which has focused predominantly on text message scams.
This is because research suggests that people are nine times more likely to fall for a text message scam than any other form of unsolicited contact which appears to be from a reputable organisation.
In a press release issued earlier this week, HMRC reported that it had been successful in ‘halting’ 90 per cent of all ‘the most convincing’ scam text messages before they reached consumers.
It added: “HMRC will never contact customers who are due a tax refund by text message or by email.”