Page last updated at 17:42 GMT, Thursday, 1 October 2009 18:42 UK

Surge in tax refund e-mail scam

Tax form
The e-mail claims to come from HM Revenue and Customs

There has been a surge in an e-mail tax refund scam, HM Revenue and Customs has warned.

The e-mails, claiming to be from the Revenue and Customs, tell the recipient they are due a tax refund.

They often ask for bank account or credit card details for the refund to be paid in to.

Martin McDonnell from Revenue and Customs said anyone who received the e-mail should not open any links but should send it to them.

"What these individuals are doing is hijacking e-mail accounts worldwide and then they're sending out blanket e-mails suggesting individuals are due a tax refund.

"As part of that they may ask them just to reply to the e-mail with the details of their account or credit card that they want that put in to," he said.

"What we would suggest is if someone receives a suggestion that they're due a refund asking for their account or credit card details by email, don't open it, don't click on the link."

He said Revenue and Customs would never send an e-mail to anyone saying that they are due a refund, but would instead contact them in writing.

Mr McDonnell said Customs had been successful in targeting those responsible.

"We've actually taken down websites all across the world, working with e-crime units, with police forces around the world and with the Serious Organised Crime Agency.

"We've taken down websites in Japan, Austria, America, Thailand as well as in the UK," he said,

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