Increased tax scam emails that target students are flooding their inboxes. The sender is disguised as a legitimate source, attempting to fool people into inputting their bank details. It’s been said that hundreds of thousands of students have received an example of these emails regarding tax refunds and HMRC are encouraging all students to be particularly vigilant.
The tax authority has claimed that there have been thousands of fraud reports from students over the last few weeks with the scam seemingly encouraging you to click a link and input you details for a tax refund.
We spoke to a spokesperson from HMRC about why the student population might be being targeted: ‘the student population is very large…that’s why these scammers target a huge population as they only need to get lucky a few times. In terms of why they’re being targeted it could be to do with the fact that student budgets could be tight and also they may have little experience of HMRC as the vast majority will be very new to living largely independently’
Director of Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cyber-crime, Pauline Smith said: ‘Devious fraudsters will try every trick in the book to convince victims to hand over their personal information, often with devastating consequences. It’s vital that students spot the signs of fraudulent emails to avoid falling victim by following HMRC’s advice.’
As of last year, it was revealed that online fraud is the most common crime in the country with the amount of cyber offences a year counting for almost 50% of crime in the country.
HMRC have released advice for those wanting to prevent themselves being a victim of these emails such as not clicking on links or downloading media in emails you weren’t expecting as well as realising organisations like banks or HMRC would never contact out of the blue and ask for details such as a password, bank details or your PIN. Many of these scams will lead you to a website and HMRC have already requested deactivation of 7500 examples of these.
If you receive a fraudulent text message of this nature you can forward it to 60599 or likewise an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to report it to HMRC.