Taxman’s warning over rebate e–mails

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FRAUDSTERS are stepping up efforts to trick people into handing over their personal details by bombarding them with fake tax rebate e-mails, the taxman has warned.

Almost 80,000 “phishing” e-mails were reported to HM Revenue & Customs during 2012 and activity tends to increase around this time of year as self-assessment returns fall due.

The e-mails, which often contain a link to a clone of HMRC’s website, typically ask recipients to hand over their card and bank details, date of birth, national insurance number and mother’s maiden name. The details are then sold on to organised crime gangs to commit fraud.

HMRC said phishing e-mails spiked after the self-assessment deadline last year. Gareth Lloyd, head of HMRC digital security said: “HMRC does not e-mail customers about tax refunds.”