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.
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.
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.
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.
Last updated: July 14, 2016
First published: July 14, 2016
By Brett M. Christensen