Gmail and Outlook warning: Don’t ignore urgent Government advice, dangerous new scam email

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Gmail, Outlook and Hotmail users are being warned by the Government about a nasty new scam message that is being spread. The dangerous email claims the recipient is owed hundreds of pounds in a tax rebate from HMRC and directs them to a website where they can allegedly claim the refund. However, this is just an elaborate ploy to direct members of the public to a bogus site designed to steal personal and financial details.

The convincing scam email has been spotted recently, with Action Fraud alerting Gmail, Outlook and other email users to the danger.

In the space of just two weeks the UK’s fraud and cyber crime reporting service heard from 442 people targeted by the scam.

The email in question features duplicates of official Government branding to make the message seem more convincing, with the fake websites users are directed too also appearing genuine.

One such email Action Fraud highlighted said the recipient was owed hundreds of pounds back from HMRC, and that refunds were time limited

Advising people of the danger, an HMRC spokesperson spoke to Express.co.uk about the risks of the email and how to stay safe.

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They said: “Never let yourself be rushed. If someone contacts you saying they’re HMRC, wanting you to urgently transfer money or give personal information, be on your guard. HMRC will also never ring up threatening arrest. Only criminals do that.

“Scams come in many forms. Some offer a tax rebate, others threaten immediate arrest for tax evasion. Sometimes they claim that the victim’s national insurance number has been used fraudulently. Contacts like these should set alarm bells ringing, so take your time and check HMRC scams advice on GOV.UK.

“Help us fight phishing scams by forwarding suspicious texts claiming to be from HMRC to 60599 and emails to phishing@hmrc.gov.uk. Report tax scam phone calls on GOV.UK.

“You can also contact HMRC directly but make sure you use phone numbers from our contacts details on GOV.UK.”

The news comes as other scam messages have been reported to authorities amid the cost of living crisis.

These scams include fake emails about the energy rebate scheme as well as bogus texts, both of which are allegedly from regulator Ofgem.

As more and more scams keep emerging HMRC offered advice on how to stay clear from such con-jobs. They said…

Stop:

Take a moment to think before parting with your money or information.

If a phone call, text or email is unexpected, don’t give out private information or reply, and don’t download attachments or click on links before checking on GOV.UK that the contact is genuine.

Do not trust caller ID on phones. Numbers can be spoofed.

Challenge:

It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests – only criminals will try to rush or panic you.

Search ‘scams’ on GOV.UK for information on how to recognise genuine HMRC contact and how to avoid and report scams.

Protect:

Forward suspicious texts claiming to be from HMRC to 60599 and emails to phishing@hmrc.gov.uk Report tax scam phone calls on GOV.UK.

Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen victim to a scam, and report it to Action Fraud (in Scotland, contact the police on 101).

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