HMRC admits faults
People who receive tax credits are being warned about scam emails being sent out by fraudsters in an attempt to gather card details and passwords. Some 22,000 phishing emails were reported to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) during the tax credit renewals period from April to July last year.
Now HMRC is expecting a similar trend this year, as claimants update the tax authority’s records. HMRC says it never asks for personal or payment information by email.
The tax authority requires anyone who receives tax credits to renew their claim once a year. Packs are sent to those eligible at this time of year.
However, fraudsters also step up their own efforts in a bid to gather credit or debit card details or other sensitive information.
Phishing emails often promise money back. They include a link, which actually diverts the user to a fake HMRC website. From here, fraudsters gather personal information, then try to take money from the victim’s account.
Some 147 scam websites were closed down last year in countries around the world.
“HMRC will never ask you to disclose personal or payment information by email,” said Nick Lodge, director general of benefits and credits at HMRC.
“We are committed to your online security, but the methods fraudsters use to obtain information are constantly changing, so you need to be alert.”