A CAMPAIGN has been launched to warn young adults about the dangers of tax scams.

Experts at HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have said that, at this time of year, fraudsters regularly blitz taxpayers with refund scams by email or text.

The crooks, who pretend to be working for the tax authorities, do this to coincide with legitimate rebates being processed by HMRC.

And while it has long been a tactic of scammers to target elderly people, a warning has been issued that they are increasingly trying to con young adults, who have less familiarity with the tax system.

Criminals will encourage victims to provide bank details, in exchange for a payment worth hundreds of pounds, on a fake government website to harvest private information and steal money.

Angela MacDonald, head of customer services at HMRC, said: “We are determined to protect honest people from these fraudsters who will stop at nothing to make their phishing scams appear legitimate.

“HMRC is currently shutting down hundreds of phishing sites a month. If you receive one of these emails or texts, don’t respond. Instead, report it to HMRC so that more online criminals are stopped in their tracks.”

According to HMRC experts, criminals contact victims in many ways.

People are being warned to look out for signs of fraud and be wary of emails with attachments which might contain viruses designed to obtain personal or financial information.

Genuine organisations such as banks and HMRC will never contact customers out of the blue to ask for their PIN, password or bank details.

HMRC will also never advise people of a refund via an e-mail or text message.

Katy Worobec, of Take Five, the national campaign that advises on protection against financial fraud, said: “The offer of a tax rebate might sound tempting but don’t let the criminals hoodwink you into giving away your details or your cash.

“If you’re worried that you might have given away any of your information, then contact your bank straight away.”

Suspicious emails and details of suspicious calls claiming to be from HMRC can be forwarded to phishing@hmrc.gov.uk or sent by text to 60599.

If you have suffered financial loss, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

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