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Taxman alert on ‘phishing’ fraud

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15/12/2006

A fake HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) website has been set up to lure taxpayers into sending their UK current accounts details to fraudsters based on the Continent.

Emails have been sent, supposedly from a firm called HMRC Premier Services, offering a tax repayment to be paid directly to a credit card or debit card, provided people go to the site and offer their card numbers.

A spokesperson for HMRC said that this was the first time the organisation had been targeted in such a way and that the criminals had exhibited a high level of sophistication in setting up the scam. He added that he did not yet know if anyone had lost money from their UK current accounts.

The emails state that after a review of the person’s tax affairs they are due a rebate of £70, and they are asked to click on a button that takes them to the fake website.

They are then requested to complete a form that asks for a social security number, tax reference code, name and address, and telephone number. The giveaway should come when the person’s UK current account details are asked for, so that they can be ‘credited’ with the rebate.

The HMRC said it had contacted the police and was trying to close the website, hosted on a server based in France.

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