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Warning over fraudsters who offer €700 tax refund in email phishing trick

THE Revenue Commission has warned against a convincing phishing email which asks for personal details, including credit card details in return for a tax refund.

The phishing email comes with the subject heading, 'You are eligible to receive a tax refund of €734.21', and includes links to a convincing reproduction of the www.revenue.ie website.

Recipients are asked for their credit card details, their date of birth and their PPS number.

This email was not sent by the Revenue Commission who are adamant that they never send emails which require customers to send personal information via email or pop-up windows.

Sarah Cox, spokeswoman for Revenue said people who receive the email should delete it. Anyone who has responded to it should contact their bank or credit card company.

"This is the latest variant of a scam email, which we encountered last year," said Ms Cox.

An almost identical email was circulated in October fraudulently offering a tax refund of €320.50.

People awaiting a tax refund are advised to contact their local Revenue office to check its status.

Most phishing attacks in Ireland are aimed at Irish banks.

In 2006, in one of the most successful online frauds to date, several Bank of Ireland customers had around €140,000 stolen after they revealed their bank details to email scammers.

According to Conor Flynn, from Irish online security company Rits, the practice of identity theft through phishing emails is on the rise.

"This practice is massively on the rise because there is real money to be made," he said.

"Banks in Ireland are being targeted and hundreds of thousands of euro is being lost.

"Answering these emails is like going into a foreign city and walking through a red-light district with money hanging out of your pockets."