Claimants are being targeted with scam emails, fake websites and fake text messages.
HMRC has shared statistics that show that over 50,000 fake emails were reported between April and July in 2014, more than double that for the same period in 2013.
Some of these scam messages claim to be from a “Tax Credit Office Agent” offering a tax refund, or include a link to a fake version of the GOV.UK website. The email asks you to provide bank details and other sensitive information such as date of birth and passwords. This information is then used to try to take money from their account, or sell victims’ identities to criminals.
Last year, HMRC worked with other agencies to shut down 8,877 of these scam websites – a 500% increase against 2013's figures – and the message to tax credits customers this year is to stay vigilant.
Nick Lodge, Director General of Benefits and Credits, HMRC, said: “HMRC will never ask people to disclose personal information by email. We have cracked down on phishing emails and scam websites, but the fraudsters' methods are constantly changing, so people must remain vigilant.”
HMRC has advice on recognising scam emails, and how to report them at www.gov.uk/dealing-with-hmrc/phishing-scams.
We recommend that you forward any suspected scam (also known as a ‘phishing’ email) to HMRC at email@example.com and then delete it. Or you can tell us at Clayton & Brewill and we will report it on your behalf. Do not visit any links contained within the email or disclose any personal information.