People are being warned to be on the lookout for scam emails purporting to be from the Inland Revenue and offering tax rebates but asking for bank details.
A woman in Dunrossness said she had received one such email at the weekend, stating that she was due a tax refund of £988.50, following “annual calculations of her fiscal activity”.
She decided to call HM Revenue & Customs direct, however, and was told that notification of tax rebates is never done by electronic messaging.
SIC trading standards manager David Marsh said: “If someone phones or emails to tell you that money you weren’t expecting is waiting for you, be on your guard. You’re probably one of the many people on the receiving end of phishing scams. These try to get us to disclose personal or valuable details, often by directing us to bogus websites which look like the real thing.
“Firstly, don’t respond or reply. Secondly, if such an email claims to be from an organisation which you recognise (perhaps a government department or agency, your bank, or an internet shop with which you have previously done business), don’t click through any hyperlinks (these may well lead you to a spoof website set up to impersonate the real site). Instead, report the email to the organisation which supposedly sent it.
“Thirdly, make sure your computer security is adequate and up to date – secure firewalls and anti-virus protection can help to protect you and your data.” Mr Marsh said the main thing was for people to guard their personal details.
“Never disclose your name, address, telephone number, date of birth, passport or driving licence number, credit card or bank details, security numbers or passwords (or any other similarly valuable information) in response to unsolicited phone calls, emails, pop-ups or web pages. A genuine contact from a reputable business will not ask you to compromise your security. And remember – if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.”