HM REVENUE & Customs is warning taxpayers to be vigilant after reports of thieves making phone calls pretending to be the taxman.
Fraudsters are informing taxpayers they are due a tax 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 comes amid a recent surge in the number of tax scam ‘phishing’ emails reported to staff at the HMRC.
In the last three months, HMRC has shut down more than 180 websites that were responsible for sending out the fake tax rebate emails.
HMRC director of customer contact 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 suggest anyone receiving such a phone call not to give any personal information to the caller. They should 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.”
HMRC investigates phishing attacks and works with other law enforcement agencies in the UK and overseas.