Farmers need to be on the alert following reports that thieves are making phone calls pretending to be the taxman.
HM Revenue & Customs has warned that the fraudsters inform taxpayers they are due a rebate, and ask for their bank details over the phone.
They then attempt to take money from the account using the details provided. Victims risk having their bank accounts emptied and their personal details sold to other organised criminal gangs.
The warning comes amid a recent surge in the number of tax scam “phishing” emails reported to HMRC.
In the last three months, HMRC has shut down over 180 websites that were responsible for sending out the fake tax rebate emails.
Chris Hopson, director of customer contact at HMRC said: “We only ever contact customers who are due a tax refund in writing by post.
“We never use telephone calls, emails or external companies in these circumstances. We strongly urge anyone receiving such a phone call not to give any information to the caller, but report it to the police straightaway.
“If customers receive an email claiming to be from HMRC, we recommend they send it to us for investigation before deleting it permanently.”