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Beware tax credit email scam, cautions HM Revenue & Customs

Credulous Brits are once more in danger of getting scammed out of their tax credits this year thanks to a new crop of email fraudsters, HMRC has cautioned.

Scammers absolutely love the time of year between April and July, as the number of clueless Brits that fall into their trap absolutely blossom thanks to the taxman issuing tax credits. In fact, around 22,000 instances of fraudsters attempting to trick people into giving over their personal details such as card numbers and passwords were reported to HMRC in 2012 alone – and that doesn’t take into account the countless other attempts that went unreported!

Now we’re deep in that same tax credit season this year, and as a result the tax authority has issued strong cautions to anyone who will listen in an attempt to save Brits the heartache of having their personal information mined by identity thieves and their hard-earned cash siphoned away because of a email phishing scam. HMRC made sure to announce quite publicly and loudly that it would never contact someone by email in order to update their records, and that you should never trust anyone who does contact you via email and requests payment information or personal details.

Scammers are getting more and more ingenious and nefarious every year as well, and in fact many phishing emails will include a link that redirects a hapless victim to a website that looks remarkably like a legitimate HMRC web page. However, it’s undeniably a trap: once you input your personal details, these identity thieves are off and running with your information, allowing them to raid your bank accounts and to take out credit cards in your name, running up massive debts that could ravage your credit history until you get the whole matter sorted – and for anyone who’s gone through the process, it’s an absolute nightmare!

This makes it all the more important to not just believe everything you read as it arrives in your inbox. For what it’s worth, you need to adopt a rather paranoid approach and simply keep in mind that any official correspondence from a major government office such as HMRC would invariably arrive through the post in order to avoid any confusion.

In other words, don’t ever believe anything you read over the Internet unless you can verify its source. There are far too many people out there that are convinced the easiest way to get by is to separate a fool from his money, so don’t make yourself a target to these types of criminals and fraudsters – you’re much smarter than that!

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