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Record 83,000 scam tax refund' emails reported in a month

PUBLISHED: 19:00 16 October 2009 | UPDATED: 15:04 05 October 2010

A RECORD 83,000 scam emails offering fake tax refunds were reported to HM Revenue & Customs in September, figures out today reveal. The online attacks continue through October with an unprecedented 10,000 reported in one day alone

A RECORD 83,000 scam emails offering fake tax refunds were reported to HM Revenue & Customs in September, figures out today reveal.

The online attacks, known as 'phishing', have continued through October with an unprecedented 10,000 reported in one day alone.

The scam email tells recipients they are due a tax refund and asks for bank account or credit card details. The fraudsters then use the details to empty victims' accounts.

Victim also risks having their personal details sold on to other criminal gangs.

The latest version of the scam originates from various different websites, which operate for 20 minutes before changing their domain name.

Customs & Excise customer contact online chief John Harrison warned: "We never use emails, telephone calls or external companies for tax refunds. We only contact people in writing by post who are due a refund."

He is urging anyone receiving a 'tax refund' email not to open it, but send it to HM Customs for investigation and then delete it from their computer.

HM Customs is taking action in a joint operation with other law enforcement agencies in the UK and overseas. Several scam networks have already been shut down.

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