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Issue:- 19 June 2014

Tax credits claimants warned over scam emails

TAX credits claimants are being warned about scam or "phishing" emails sent out by fraudsters in the run up to the 31 July renewal deadline.

During last year's tax credits renewal period, which runs from April to July, nearly 24,839 phishing emails were reported to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). And May this year has already seen a 131.32% increase in phishing email reports on the same month last year, with 11,219 being recorded.

Although HMRC worked with other agencies to shut down 611 scam websites during the tax credits renewal period last year, others continue to be created.

HMRC took action to close down 1,740 illegal sites in 2013, most originating in Turkey, Spain and Bulgaria. Phishing emails also came from the UK and USA.

Phishing emails often promise money back and, if the recipient clicks on a link, they are taken to a fake replica of the HMRC website. They are then asked to provide credit or debit card details or other sensitive information such as passwords. The fraudsters then try to take money from their account.

They often ask for the recipient's name, address, date of birth, bank account number, sort code, credit card details, national insurance number, passwords and mother's maiden name.

In addition to money being stolen from victims' bank accounts, their personal details can be sold to criminal gangs, leading to possible identify theft.

Nick Lodge, Director General of Benefits and Credits, HMRC, said:- "HMRC will never ask people to disclose personal or payment information by email. We are committed to claimants' online security but the methods fraudsters use to get information are constantly changing, so people need to be alert."

HMRC is asking people to be wary of emails with attachments which might contain viruses designed to steal personal or financial information, and not to open them.

One scam is contained in an email circulated from:-, telling recipients about a 2013 tax refund report. The email appears to have been issued by "Tax Credit Office Preston", but it is a scam. It includes an attachment that contains a virus. Recipients are urged not to respond and to delete it immediately.

HMRC asks people to:-

1. Check online for its internet security advice.

2. Immediately forward suspicious emails to HMRC via this dedicated email address:- and then delete them

Avoid clicking on websites or links in suspicious emails, or opening attachments

Further advice can also be found at:-

This year, as well as being able to renew by post and by phone, tax credits claimants with no changes to report might be able to renew online using the official GOV.UK website or via an HMRC mobile app.

SINGALONGALIVERPOOL: A walking tour with a big difference!

THERE'S a walking tour with a difference happening on Sunday, 29 June 2014, at 8pm. Combining Liverpool's love of music, comedy and fascinating history, this is SingalongaLiverpool!

Locals and visitors alike will have the opportunity to learn more about the amazing history of Liverpool, see the sights and have a good old fashioned singalong with live professional musicians, guide and performers. The tour is described by the organisers Wanderpool as 'part guided walk, part community sing-song, part mini-flash mob with just a hint of 1960s 'happenings' thrown into the mix of fun, laughter and community spirit'.

It really is a case of the more the merrier with SingalongaLiverpool, so there is a very special offer on the first 30 tickets. They are being offered at 70% off the full price and cost just £3. They are available in advance only on Substantial group discounts are also available and tickets may be available on the night at £10 or £8 concessions. For more details call:- 07446 14750 or via email.

Meeting place is the Steble fountain outside Walker Art Gallery, William Brown St and end point is Derby Square. Whether coming with a group or alone; young and old alike will be made very welcome, with the chance to get to know people and socialise all built into the tour.

Participants on the musical romp through Liverpool's streets and history, will be regaled with interesting facts and stories about the buildings en route, be led in singing well-known relevant classics from across the decades. They'll be accompanied by local musicians Tom George, Mycroft Milverton and Dan Hill.

SingalongaLiverpool was the brainchild of Wanderpool director Jacqueline Boylan, a tour guide, children's entertainer and former actor (and Superlambanana artist). She happily admits she is no singer.  "From the very start of doing the walking tours, I always felt there were bits that sounded like cues for songs, but sadly I wasn't a singer so when the chance to do something for Light Night came up, I thought now's my chance do try something a bit different. I thought of all sorts of hi-tech ideas before it suddenly struck me – why not go back to basics with some live acoustic musicians and a good old-fashioned singalong?"

Singer/songwriter, performance poet and professional busker Tom George jumped on board alongside fellow guitarist Dan Hill, with piratical performer Mycroft Milverton adding a touch of ukulele magic to the more traditional songs and a touch of eccentric mayhem to the proceedings.

The simple but effective formula was trialled during 2 tours (the A and B sides) at Liverpool's Light Night last month and proved a huge success with one of the participants giving the following review. "With SingalongaLiverpool, it doesn't matter whether you're a born and bred Scouser, visiting the City for the first or thousandth time or just tagging along because you have nothing better to dol you are guaranteed a gusty, lusty lung busting couple of hours of real pleasure. Come and join Jackie and gang; and learn some new things about one of the favourite cities of the world; you already know the songs; this is street performance at its best!"

There are 2 SingalongaLiverpool tours in the current Wanderpool repertoire (the A-side and the B-side). The tour on 29 June is the B-side which covers St George's Hall cultural quarter, town centre and Cavern Quarter, before the finale at the Queen Victoria monument, and unsurprisingly given the route, it contains a fair few 60s numbers (not just those of the Fab Four but other Merseybeat groups), as well as traditional favourites, a WW2 song, a 50s number 1 and a couple of well loved 80s pop and rock classics.

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