Home ScamsPhishing Scams ‘Claim Your Tax Refund Online’ Phishing Email

‘Claim Your Tax Refund Online’ Phishing Email

by Brett M. Christensen

Outline:
Email purporting to be from UK tax agency HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) claims that there has been an error in the calculation of your tax return and you can therefore claim a tax refund online by opening a Tax Refund Form contained in an attached file.

Brief Analysis:
The email is not from HMRC. It is a phishing scam designed to steal your personal and financial information. Tax refund scams like this are very common and have targeted taxpayers around the world for a number of years. Your tax department will not send you an unsolicited email asking you to click a link or open an attachment to claim a refund or update details. If you receive such an email, do not click any links or open any attachments that it contains.


Example:
Claim Your Tax Refund OnlineNew Anouncement UK ID:HEPBY5OW

We identified an error in the calculation of your tax from the last payment, amounting to GBP 244.17.
In order for us to return the excess payment, we need to confirm a few extra details after which the funds will be credited to your specified bank account.
Please submit the tax refund request and download the attached form by having your tax refund sent to your bank account in due time.To access your tax refund, please follow the steps bellow:

– download the Tax Refund Form attached to this email
– open it in a browser
– follow the instructions on your screen

We are here to ensure the correct tax is paid at the right time, whether this relates to payment of taxes received by the department or entitlement to benefits paid.
Best Regards

Claim Your Tax Refund Online scam email



Detailed Analysis:
According to this email, which claims to be from UK tax agency HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), there has been an error in the calculation of your last tax payment. Therefore, explains the email, HMRC needs to confirm some details so that it can return the excess payment to you. It asks you to open an attached file in your web browser and follow the instructions to claim your refund.

But, alas, the email is not from HMRC and the promised refund is just a ruse designed to trick you into submitting your personal and financial information to criminals.

If you open the attached file, a bogus ‘update form’ will load in your browser (see screenshot below).  The form asks for credit card numbers as well as your name and address details and other identifying information.

After you click the ‘Submit Form’  button, all of this information will be sent to the criminals and used to commit credit card fraud and identity theft.

Tax refund scam attempts like this one are certainly nothing new. Similar scams have targeted taxpayers in several countries over a number of years.

Be wary of any email or text message that claims that you can click a link or open an attached file to access an unexpected tax refund. Your country’s tax agency will not send you such a message.

The HMRC website includes information about avoiding and reporting such phishing scams.

HMRC tax refund scam form




Last updated: July 14, 2016
First published: July 14, 2016
By Brett M. Christensen
About Hoax-Slayer

References
Avoid and report internet scams and phishing
‘Attempt To Deposit Your Tax Refund Failed’ Phishing Scam Email
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