Fraudsters are targeting taxpayers with thousands of phoney "tax rebate" emails purporting to come from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).
HMRC officials have warned taxpayers not to fall victim to "phishing" emails sent out by fraudsters in the run-up to the self-assessment deadline at the end of this month.
People receiving the emails are told they are due a tax refund and are directed to a fake website where they will be asked for bank or credit card details so that the fictitious sum can be paid out.
Once the information has been obtained, the site then redirects people to the real HMRC website. Many victims have no idea that they have been conned until alerted by their banks.
Customers who provide their details risk their accounts being emptied and credit cards used to their limit. The phoney emails resemble HM Revenue & Customs' website (hmrc.gov.uk), using the same graphics, fonts and styling.