The UK's HMRC 'lost disc' debacle appears to have prompted criminals to target the country's tax payers with a specially-crafted phishing email.

According to McAfee, an email doing the rounds claims that recipients can get an attractive tax refund from the Government by visiting what turns out to be a bogus website.

"After the last annual calculations of your fiscal activity we have determined that you are eligible to receive a tax refund of £215 ($420)," says the email.

Although there is no suggestion that email's senders have access to the lost data discs in any direct way - they also don't refer to the event directly - McAfee has inferred from its theme that the data loss and the email are connected.

The huge data loss was announced by red-faced Government ministers in November after several CDs containing the UK's entire database of child benefit claimants - including extensive details of every child in the country - were lost by the HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs) after an apparent postal mishap.

McAfee didn't detail the data the website would have collected from anyone falling for the scam, but it would most likely have included, name, address and National Insurance numbers, more than enough to initiate ID fraud.

As routine as phishing scams have become, this one comes close to being one of the cleverest of recent times. The current UK government is known for its use of e-government, and the Labour Administration has a policy of re-paying taxes to those of modest means in the form of credits.

"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," said McAfee's Greg Day.

Luckily, the email is also written in English that jars slightly, and falls well short of capturing the impersonal bureaucratic speak that so typifies communications from the UK's HMRC.