Warning issued by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute over fake National Insurance refund scam
The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) is warning the public to look out for a fake National Insurance refund scam. The scam, sent via email, is designed to look like an official government department communication.
The message informs the recipient that according to their national insurance contributions, they are eligible for a tax refund as part of measures to alleviate the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown.
The evidence CTSI has received quotes a refund of £128.34. The message asks the recipient to click a link to "claim your national insurance refund".
The link goes to a page which requests the banking details of the user which sends the data to fraudsters.
The National Insurance scam comes on the back of a similarly bogus business grant scam reported this month.
Katherine Hart, Lead Officer for Doorstep Crime at CTSI, said: "This is another email scam themed around the COVID-19 pandemic clad in government department branding. Millions of people have either been furloughed or made redundant during the lockdown, and I am concerned that some may jump at the opportunity to claim this phoney refund.
"If you receive this email, please report it to the authorities, and do not click any links contained within them."
To report scam emails, forward the original message to firstname.lastname@example.org. An automated system run by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) will scan the email, and if malicious links are found, the associated website will be taken down.
Contact your business's bank immediately if you think you've been scammed and report it to Action Fraud, or if in Scotland dial 101 and report it to Police Scotland. Advice and guidance on how to protect yourself from fraud and cybercrime is available at www.gov.uk/coronavirus-fraud-and-cyber-crime.
Also, the public and businesses are encouraged to join Friends Against Scams and Businesses Against Scams, respectively. These initiatives aim to protect and prevent people and businesses from becoming scam victims by empowering them to take a stand against scams.
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