Fraudsters rev up ‘phishing’ emails in tax season

Fraudsters are continuing to target taxpayers with fake HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) emails in an effort to steal private and confident information.

The ‘phishing’ emails raged rampant around the 31 January tax return deadline, the time when taxpayers most expect to see correspondence from the Revenue.

The emails will appear as though they are addressed from HMRC, but closer inspections can reveal whether or not they are genuine.

One of the fake emails will feature the subject line: “Refund Payment Confirmation Number”, followed by an 11-digit number.

It will further read: “We are sending this email to announce that after the last annual calculation of your fiscal activity we have determined that you are eligible to receive a tax return of £[sum]. In order to receive your tax refund, you need to create a Government Gateway account.”

HMRC’s head of cyber security, Ed Tucker, said: “Phishing emails are a major focus for our Cyber Security Team.

“They’re more than just unwanted messages; they are a means by which criminals look to exploit members of the public and gain access to their personal and financial data. This in turn can lead to fraud and identity theft.”

HMRC will only ever contact you for confidential information by phone or post.

If you spot any suspicious activity, you can contact HMRC by emailing phishing@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk.