Phishing fraudsters have been targeting people whose confidential details may have been contained on computer discs lost last year by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), according to Internet security firm McAfee.
McAfee says phishing e-mails have been sent to UK citizens offering an opportunity to claim a tax refund of £215 from the UK government.
But the e-mails contain a link to a "suspect" Web site based in Germany. The bogus site has now been shut down.
Greg Day, security analyst, McAfee, says: "This phishing attack has echoes of traditional get rich quick scams, praying on the desire to be compensated for the government losing their data, but people must learn that there really is no such thing as free money."
However, Day says the attack is likely to have been blunted by HMRC's battered reputation.
"Recent high profile data loss incidents have left the public more vigilant about handing over information that has any link to HMRC, so this may not be the most thoroughly considered phishing attack," he adds.
HMRC lost the computer discs - which contained the confidential data including bank account details, addresses, dates of birth and National Insurance numbers of all 25 million child benefit recipients - last October.
The two password-protected discs went missing while in transit from HMRC's headquarters in Washington, Tyne and Wear to the National Audit Office (NAO) in London.