Tax Refund Phishing Trap
Home ScamsPhishing Scams HM Revenue & Customs Income Tax Repayment Phishing Scam

HM Revenue & Customs Income Tax Repayment Phishing Scam

by Brett M. Christensen

This story was first published on May 3, 2011

Outline:
Email, purporting to be from the UK’s HM Revenue & Customs, claims that the recipient has paid too much income tax and should follow a link to arrange a refund.


Brief Analysis:
The email is not from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). The message is a phishing scam designed to steal personal and financial information from recipients. The link in the email opens a bogus website designed to resemble the genuine HMRC website.

Example:
We are glad to announce you that HMRC has recalculate your fiscal activity from last year and have determined that you are eligible to receive a tax refund of 766.28 GBP.If you want to claim your tax refund online , you have to complete a refund form with your personal information.Please allow HMRC up to 5 business days in order to verify and process your request. After the verification process you will automatically receive your refund.

Please note that if you will not complete the refund form now , you will not be able to claim your tax refund online anymore.

Please be aware that we receive a high volume of tax refund requests. We will only contact you within the next 5 business days if there is a problem with the information submitted.

A refund can be delayed for a variety of reasons , for example submitting invalid information or applying after the deadline term that is Monday 15 May 2017.

This is an automated email sent to [email address removed], please do not reply to this email as this mailbox is not monitored , so you will not get any response.
Thank you
GOV.UK

 

Example:
Subject: Tax Refund Confirmation

After the last annual calculations of your fiscal activity, we have determined that you are
eligible to receive a tax refund of 468.50 GBP. Please submit the tax refund request and
click here by having your tax refund sent to your bank account in due time

Please Click “Get Started” to have your tax refund sent to your bank account, your tax
refund will be sent to your bank account in due time take your time to go through the bank
we have on our list

Get Started

Note : A refund can be delayed a variety of reasons, for example submitting invalid records
or applying after deadline.

Best Regards

HM Revenue & Customs

 

Example:
Subject: HMRC Message: Your Tax Refund Notification

Dear Taxpayer,

After the last annual calculations of your fiscal activity we have discovered that
you are eligible to receive a tax refund of £327.65. Kindly complete the tax refund
request and allow 2-3 working days to process it.

A refund can be delayed for a variety of reasons. For example submitting invalid
records or applying after the deadline. To access the form for your tax refund,
please Click here: [Link removed]

Note: For security reasons, we will record your ip-address, the date and time.
Deliberate wrong inputs are criminally pursued and persecuted.

Thank You.
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC)

 

Example:
Subject: Tax Refund Notification

Date 01/08/2011

HM Revenue & Customs has identified an error in the calculation of your tax from the last payment, amounting to A tax refund of £1.400.(Still Pending)

Due to invalid account record we were unable to credit your account Please submit a verified tax refund request. To return the excess payment, please click on “Claim My Refund” to submit a verified tax refund request.

A refund can be delayed for a variety of reasons. For example submitting invalid records or applying after the deadline. Click the “Claim my Refund” link below and follow the on screen step in order to have us process your request.

Claim my Refund Note: For security reasons, we will record your ip-address, the date and time,Deliberate wrong inputs are criminally pursued and indicated.

Best Regards,
HM Revenue & Customs

 

Example:
Subject: Your Income Tax Repayment

Income Tax repayment

An Income Tax repayment is a refund of tax that you’ve overpaid.
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has received new information about your taxable income you’ve overpaid too much tax through your job or pension in previous years. You might have overpaid tax if:

* your employer used the wrong tax code
* you started a new job and had an emergency tax code for a while
* you only worked for part of the year
* you had more than one job at the same time
* you didn’t tell HMRC right away about changes to benefits you got through your work
* your circumstances changed – perhaps you were made redundant or became self employed and therefore your income reduced
* other income like investments or rental income reduced but you didn’t tell HMRC
* you made a mistake on your tax return
* we made a mistake with your tax

All of these things and more can mean you paid too much tax.
HMRC will send you a repayment. You’ll get the repayment either by cheque in the post or by bank transfer.

At the moment HMRC can refund your overpaid tax by bank transfer.

Please click on the link below to have your tax refund to your bank account, your tax refund will be sent to your bank account in due time. Take your time to go through the banks we have on our list, you will be provided with steps to follow .
[Link removed]

Best Regards Tax agents & advisers HM Revenue & Customs



Detailed Analysis:
This email, which claims to be from UK tax agency HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), advises recipients that they have overpaid income tax and are therefore eligible for a refund. The message asks recipients to click a link to arrange for the refund to be payed directly into their bank accounts.

However, the email is certainly not from HMRC. In fact, the message is just one more in a long series of tax refund phishing scams that have targeted taxpayers all around the world. Those who fall for the ruse and click the link in the message will be taken to a bogus website designed to emulate a genuine HMRC website. To make it appear more convincing, the bogus site may include HMRC logos and formatting along with secondary links that point to the genuine HMRC site. Once on the fake website, victims will be asked to provide banking and credit card details via an online form, ostensibly to allow the refund to be transferred.

All information submitted on the bogus website will be collected by criminals and used for credit card fraud and identity theft.

HMRC will never send tax refund notifications via email. Nor will it ask taxpayers to disclose personal or financial information by following a link or opening an attachment in an unsolicited email. This is equally true of tax agencies in other nations. Be very cautious of emails or text messages that claim that you are eligible for a tax refund. If you receive such a message, do not follow any links it may contain. Do not open any attachments that may come with the message. Bogus tax refund messages are a tactic that has often and repeatedly been used by phishing scammers over several years.

For details on other versions of the scam, see:
HM Revenue & Customs Tax Refund Phishing Scam
Department of Finance Phishing Scam
IRS Refund Scam Email
Australian Tax Refund Scam Email
ATO Activity Statement Refund Phishing Scam
South African Revenue Service Tax Refund Phishing Scam
Indian Department of Revenue Tax Refund Scam


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