PEOPLE in South Tyneside are being warned that thousands of scam e-mails have been sent out by fraudsters in a bid to get their hands on taxpayers’ cash.
Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) says almost 8,000 reports have been made by people concerned about an e-mail they had been sent, promising a tax refund in exchange for personal, credit card or banking details.
However, those who respond risk opening their account to fraud and having their details sold on to organised criminal gangs.
Last year, 522 illegal sites sending out the scam e-mails, were closed down by HMRC.
Gareth Lloyd, head of digital security for HMRC, said: “HMRC does not e-mail customers about tax refunds – we only ever contact customers who are genuinely due tax back in writing, by post.
“HMRC does everything it can to ensure customers are safe online and we are working closely with other law enforcement agencies to target the criminals behind this serious crime.”
Anyone who receives what they believe to be a scam e-mail is asked to forward it on to firstname.lastname@example.org before deleting it permanently.