Written by Alyssa Walker

Students in the UK, beware: the UK tax authority, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), warned that you are a target of tax scammers. 

Forbes reported that the HMRC reportedly received thousands of complaints of phishing emails throughout November. Scammers have sued email addresses that look similar to the legitimate .ac.uk domains to fool students. They spoofed the Gov.uk branding and credit card companies. 

According to The Guardian, victims of the scam opened the email, clicked on a link, and entered their personal and banking details. The scammers used this information to steal money.

HMRC asked for 7,500 of these phishing sites to be deactivated between April and September of this year.

Financial secretary to the Treasury, Mel Stride, said, "HMRC will never inform you about tax refunds by email, text or voicemail. If you receive one of these messages it is a scam. Do not click on any links in these messages, and forward them to HMRC’s phishing email address [phishing@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk].

“Although HMRC is cracking down hard on internet scams, criminals will stop at nothing to steal personal information. I’d encourage all students to become phishing aware – it could save you a lot of money."

The Guardian also reported that the director of Action Fraud, 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 is vital that students spot the signs of fraudulent emails to avoid falling victim by following HMRC’s advice.

“HMRC is encouraging all universities to raise awareness of scams and many have already begun taking action to warn their students of the risks.”

Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.
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