Thousands of our American cousins are being tricked into giving away their banking details as they scramble to file their tax returns before tomorrow's deadline. Cheeky scammers are creating spoof tax websites and pilfering thousands of pounds from web users who think the sites are legit.

"We're very concerned about this because there is a web site out there that looks like it's affiliated with the IRS, but it really isn't," said Internal Revenue Service ( IRS ) spokesperson Terry Lemons.

One hundred and thirty six million American citizens file their taxes over the internet, giving the clever-but-nasty fraudsters an opportunity they obviously couldn't ignore.

The dastardly crooks are spamming the email accounts of millions of people, advertising their site as an IRS-authorised method of filing taxes quickly and easily online.

Baddies

Then, once the devious villains have someone's tax details, they re-file the claim on the legitimate IRS website, but give their own account details instead of the victim's.

That way, the nasties get the tax refunds, and the unsuspecting citizens get nothing other than a seriously aggressive kick in the teeth.

Former tax fraudster Evangelos Soukas described how easy it is for these scammers to get away with these plans: "It's actually easy. If I wanted to continue in this field, I could have safeguarded my true identity and never been caught.

"It's easier from the IRS than a bank, or calling a department store call centre for a credit card."