‘Attempt to Deposit Your Tax Refund Failed’ Phishing Scam Email

Email purporting to be from the UK’s HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) claims that the department’s last attempt to deposit your tax refund failed due to an error in your bank details. It urges you to reapply for the refund by clicking a link.

Brief Analysis:
The email is not from HMRC and the claim that a refund payment has failed is untrue. The email is a phishing scam designed to steal your personal and financial information via a fraudulent website.

Subject: Att : Tax Refund Notice


Our Last attempt to deposit your tax refund of 198.54 GBP for the last fiscal year failed, this is due to error in the bank details in your tax file. Please re-apply via [Link removed]. Be sure to provide up to date personal and banking details, so we can immediately deposit the refund amount into your account without errors.*Refund Amount: GBP 198.54

>> Your *Refund Reference Number is : Ref/200928/16A <<

Amount ID: 356453234
E-mail ID: 254295401

Apply here [Link removed]

Thanks For understanding,
Accounts Dept

Detailed Analysis:
According to this email, which purports to be from the UK’s HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) you have missed out on a tax refund due to an error in your tax file banking details. The email claims that HMRC attempted to deposit a refund of £198.54 but the transaction failed. But, claims the email,  you can reapply for the missed refund by clicking a link and providing your up-to-date personal and banking information.  The email includes a ‘Refund Reference Number’, and other ID numbers in an apparent effort to make the claims seem more official.

However, the email is not from HMRC and the claim that an attempted refund deposit has failed is untrue. In fact, the message is just one more tax refund related phishing scam among a great many similar scam messages.

If you fall for the trick and click the link, you will be taken to a fraudulent webpage that is designed to look like it is part of the genuine HMRC site.  A form on the fraudulent site will ask for your name, address, and contact details, ID information such as your driver’s licence number, and your credit card details. The form’s description will claim that you must provide this information so that your refund can be sent to your account.

All of the information you submit via the bogus form can be collected by online criminals and subsequently used to commit credit card fraud and identity theft.

HMRC has published information about such scam attempts on its website.

While this version targets taxpayers in the UK, very similar tax refund scams have targeted users in the US, Australia, Canada, India, South Africa, and other nations. Be very wary of any email or text message that claims that you are eligible for a tax refund and can claim your refund by clicking a link or opening an attached file.

Email Phishing

Last updated: April 21, 2016
First published: April 21, 2016
By Brett M. Christensen
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HMRC ‘You Are Eligible To Receive A Tax Refund’ Phishing Scam
HMRC – Phishing and scams
Phishing Scams – Anti-Phishing Information