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Warning over latest ‘tax code’ scam emails - stay safe and don’t be fooled

PUBLISHED: 14:04 17 February 2020 | UPDATED: 13:21 18 February 2020

People are being warned to beware of a tax code email scam. Picture: GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO

People are being warned to beware of a tax code email scam. Picture: GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO

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People in Suffolk are being warned of another HMRC scam email, following on from last week’s warning about fake tax refund messages.

A woman living in Ipswich said she was almost taken in by one of the latest emails, which had the subject line "You have a tax code change".

The email, which arrived at her workplace email address, used similar wording to genuine HMRC correspondence, but came from a private email address which appeared to be based in Italy.

"I thought my tax code might be due to change, so I nearly clicked on the links included, but then realised just in time that it was a scam," the woman said.

"It looked really convincing, so I am worried that others could be fooled by it and end up losing money."

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Suffolk Trading Standards is urging people to be vigilant against any unexpected emails or calls appearing to come from HMRC. Last week, it warned householders a few days ago about a spate of fake emails from someone claiming to be from HM Revenue and Customs Online Payments, which appeared to notify people of tax refunds.

In January, Trading Standards officers also issued a warning over a spate of automated scam calls claiming to be from staff at Inland Revenue, stating that failure to appear at Magistrates Court will "result in the suspension of your National Insurance Number."

A Suffolk Trading Standards spokesman said: "HMRC will never send notifications by email about tax rebates or refunds. Do not visit the website, open any attachments or disclose any personal or payment information.

"Fraudsters may spoof a genuine email address or change the 'display name' to make it appear genuine. If you are unsure, forward it to HMRC on phishing@hmrc.gov.uk, and then delete it."

You can also always report a trader, an unsafe product or a scam to Trading Standards via the national Citizens Advice consumer service: 0808 2231133.

An HMRC spokesman said: "Recognise the signs - genuine organisations like banks and HMRC will never contact you out of the blue to ask for your bank details, PIN or password. Stay safe - don't give out private information, reply to text messages, download attachments or click on links in emails you weren't expecting.

"Take action - forward suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC to phishing@hmrc.gov.uk and texts to 60599. Contact your bank immediately if you believe you've submitted card details to a scammer and report to Action Fraud if you suffer financial loss."

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