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Warning to beware of ‘tax refund’ scam
A MAN who fell foul of an email scam supposedly offering a tax rebate from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has warned other York residents to beware of the hoax.
Paul Collington, 51, from Bishopthorpe Road, York, said he lost £160 to the so-called phishing-style scam after receiving an email telling him he was due a refund of £244.77 and asking for his bank account details.
He said: “They said I had £244 due to me and I thought: ‘I’ll have some of that’.
“It asked for my credit card details but then it started asking for my pin numbers and I thought: ‘Whoa, I’m not giving them that’.”
However, Mr Collington did send off enough details for the fraudsters to gain access to his bank account. He said: “I sent it off on Monday and they took four lots of £40 out. It was almost straight away over the course of the day.”
The convincing-looking email includes a case number and even the name of a tax credit officer supposedly handling the refund.
After realising what had happened Mr Collington notified his bank who confirmed his account had been “compromised”. The money has since been repaid by his bank, but he has warned other potential victims to beware.
“Never give out your details,” he said. “Revenue & Customs told me they will never contact you by email.”
A spokesman for HMRC said: “We only ever contact customers who are due a tax refund in writing by post. We don’t use telephone calls, emails or external companies in these circumstances. Anyone who receives an email claiming to be from HMRC should send it to email@example.com before deleting it permanently.”
HMRC said that during last year’s tax credits renewals period, from April to July, nearly 94,000 phishing emails were reported by customers, despite the department helping to shut down more than 360 scam websites during the period.