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Taxpayers warned on latest scam emails

13th January 2017

example-phishing-refund-form

Taxpayers are being warned about the latest scam email to target them, which takes advantage of the deadline at the end of this month for the 2015-16 Self Assessment tax returns to try and trick taxpayers into thinking they’re due a tax rebate.

The email – titled “#Refund Payment Confirmation Number” and an 11-digit number – tells customers that “we are sending this email to announce that after the last annual calculation of your fiscal activity we have determined that you are eligible to receive a tax return of” with a fictitious amount then given. The recipient is then advised that they need to create a Government Gateway account to receive this.

To do so, they are told they must enter their bank details. However, the email is a scam, and those filling their details in have seen credit cards created in their name, and have lost thousands of pounds.

If you receive the email, just ignore it, report it (forward it to phishing@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk), then delete it.

What to look out for

This same scam has cropped up every year – e.g. in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and last year. With the emails guaranteed to be tried again, how can you spot a fraudulent email?

Mainly, emails from HMRC will never:

  • Send notifications of a tax rebate/refund by email
  • Offer you a repayment by email, or offer it for a few days only
  • Address the email, or refer to you, by anything other than the name that you have given to them
  • Give a non-HMRC personal email address to send a response to
  • Ask you to disclose personal information such as your full address, postcode, Unique Taxpayer Reference or details of your bank account
  • Provide a link to a secure log-in page or a form asking for information – they will instead always ask you to log into your account yourself.
  • Have attachments, unless you have given prior consent to receive documents by email, and you have formally accepted the risks
  • Ask for financial information, unless you have given prior consent and have formally accepted the risks

Follow these rules and proceed with caution. Just because the site looks genuine, or an email address ends in gov.uk, that doesn’t mean that it is safe. If in doubt, always ignore it. HMRC willl send messages to your accountant or to your own gateway account, and never just by email. Fraudulent emails will also usually ask for ‘urgent’ or ‘immediate’ action.

If you are in any doubt about a communication, or have any concerns about communications with HMRC, please feel free to contact us too, at 020-7488-3614 or any other contact details on this site.