HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is warning taxpayers to be on their guard against phone calls from the crooks.
Scammers inform taxpayers they are due a rebate, and ask for their bank card details over the phone.
They then attempt to take money from the account using the details provided. Victims risk having their bank accounts emptied and their personal details sold on to other organised criminal gangs.
The warning follows a recent surge in the number of tax scam “phishing” emails reported to HMRC with 10,000 attempts to swindle cash made in one day alone.
HMRC has shut down over 180 websites that were responsible for sending out the fake tax rebate emails.
Chris Hopson, Director of Customer Contact at HMRC said: “We only ever contact customers who are due a tax refund in writing by post. We never use telephone calls, emails or external companies in these circumstances.
“We strongly urge anyone receiving such a phone call not to give any information to the caller, but report it to the police straightaway.
“If customers receive an email claiming to be from HMRC, we recommend they send it to us for investigation before deleting it permanently.”
Suspicious emails can be forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org