Home ScamsPhishing Scams HM Revenue & Customs ‘Unclaimed Refund’ Phishing Scam

HM Revenue & Customs ‘Unclaimed Refund’ Phishing Scam

by Brett M. Christensen

Outline

Email, purporting to be from the UK’s HM Revenue & Customs, advises that the recipient is yet to claim a tax refund and should click a link to submit a tax refund request.

Brief Analysis

The email is not from HM Revenue & Customs and the claim that the recipient can receive a refund is untrue. The message is a phishing scam designed to trick recipients into divulging their personal and financial information to Internet criminals. This is a long running scam. Similar scam messages claim to be from tax agencies in several other nations as well as the UK. If you receive one of these messages, do not click on any links or open any attachments that it may contain.

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Example

Subject: Automated Tax Refund Notification
`
Unclaimed Tax Refund Notification
You are Receiving this Notification Because you are yet to claim your tax refund which has accrued up to 279.41 GBP,
This is the last and Final notice we will be sending regarding this issue. you are advised to respond Swiftly to this mail
so as to facilitate the process within 72hours of receiving the information Submitted.

On files dated 04/01/2013, The following Banks are processed within 48hrs of receiving your information due to the system link up.

Co-operative Bank Plc

Lloyds TSB Bank Plc

Nationwide Building Society

NatWest Bank

Santander Bank

other banks are required to allow up 72hrs.

You are require to Submit the tax refund request using the reference below

Refund Now

Please Note : If the Account provide is incorrect or inactive your refund would be forfeited and also

For Security reason we will record ( IP Address, Time and Date ) Deliberate wrong input will be criminally pursued

Yours Sincerely

HM Revenue & Customs

HMRC Phishing Scam

 

Detailed Analysis

According to this email, which purports to be from UK tax agency HM Revenue & Customs, the recipient is yet to claim a tax refund that is owed to him or her. The message warns that no further notifications about the refund will be sent and urges the recipient to respond swiftly by clicking the “Refund Now” link.

The message is not from HM Revenue & Customs. The claim that the recipient can follow a link to receive a refund is a lie. The message is a phishing scam created to entice recipients into divulging their personal and financial information to online fraudsters. Those who follow the link will be taken to a bogus websites designed to closely mirror the genuine HM Revenue & Customs website. Once on the fake site, they will be asked to fill in an online form, ostensibly to allow their refund to be paid. The form will ask for extensive personal and financial information, including bank and credit card details.

Once they click the “submit” button on the fake form, all of their information will be sent to scammers who can then use it to commit bank and credit card fraud and identity theft.

HM Revenue & Customs will never send you a tax refund notification via an unsolicited email. “Tax Refund” phishing scams have been targeting taxpayers in several countries for years. Any email that claims that you can get an unexpected tax refund by clicking a link or opening an attachment is likely to be a 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