Phishing scams are pretty much as old as the internet itself. Over time they have increased in quality, and sometimes even the most astute of web users can occasionally be tripped up by these well-designed imitations. As is the case after every Self Assessment filing season, HMRC have had to issue a warning to any taxpayers who have received an email saying they’re owed a tax rebate.

This emails include a link to a page that looks like HMRC’s website, but in fact is there solely to get at people’s sensitive details. Those tricked will enter their information under the impression a rebate will be transferred to them, when in fact all it will do is put their bank accounts at risk.

All in all, over 80,000 emails were reported to HMRC as suspicious. This led to more than 550 illegal phishing sites being shut down. These sites are clearly working, hence the large number of them. Once set-up, they take up little work to reap rewards, and any time a site gets shut down, a new one can easily spring up in it’s place by using the same copy-and-pasted site.

HMRC reminded taxpayers that it will never send out an email in regards to tax rebates being owed, and it most certainly won’t send a link to ask for bank details in an email either. If you want to be sure, head straight over to the HMRC site and find out what you need to do from there. Receiving links in emails to sites asking for any bank details should ring alarm bells straight away.

If you are contacted by someone you think might be impersonating HMRC – or any company or public body for that matter – contact who they’re claiming to be over the phone to get confirmation. You also be reporting these emails to help ensure others don’t get snared.

Photo by Heather Sunderland