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

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

by Brett M. Christensen

Outline:
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.

Example:
Subject: Att : Tax Refund Notice

Attn,

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
HMRC


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
About Hoax-Slayer

References
HMRC ‘You Are Eligible To Receive A Tax Refund’ Phishing Scam
HMRC – Phishing and scams
Phishing Scams – Anti-Phishing Information

 

Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,
Hoax-Slayer