Out-Law News

HMRC systems subjected to alleged tax fraud cyber attack

Computer systems operated by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have been subjected to a cyber attack in an attempted tax scam, it has claimed.

HMRC said that it suspects five men it arrested of using "illegally obtained personal data from third parties" to set up fake tax self assessment accounts online in a bid to "steal large sums of false tax rebates". It said that the attempted value of the fraud amounted to £500,000.

HMRC said that it had charged one man with cheating the Revenue, whilst a further four men were arrested before being released on bail pending further enquiries. Italian cyber crime investigators helped HMRC to identify and arrest the charged individual as he disembarked a flight from Italy into Stansted airport on Saturday, it said.

"HMRC’s online systems proved extremely resilient to these attacks - they correctly identified and prevented the vast majority of false repayment attempts from the outset," Andrew Sackey, assistant director of criminal investigation at HMRC, said. "These arrests clearly demonstrate that we can, and will, apprehend those suspected of attempting to cheat UK taxpayers by defrauding HMRC, with international assistance if necessary."

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