Tax Refund Phishing Scam
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HMRC ‘Your Automatic Payment Didn’t Go Through’ Phishing Scam

by Brett M. Christensen

This email, which purports to be from the UK’s HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), claims that your automatic tax refund payment didn’t go through. It urges you to open an attached file and follow the instructions to claim your refund.

However, the email is not from HMRC and the attached file does not contain legitimate tax information.

Instead, the email is a phishing scam designed to steal your personal and financial information.

The text of the initial scam email:

Subject: Order Acknowledgement -> ‘Your automatic payment didn’t go through’ KKJYER5253871366

 

Dear TaxPayer,

 

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has received your claim for a tax refund.

 

Your reference is 4HQQ FHHI WLSC 1Y7Z.

 

If you are entitled to a refund you’ll get a revised tax calculation and what you’re owed.

If you’re not entitled to a refund you’ll be told the reason why.

 

For your security Your transaction details are attached on email , please find and open the pdf file and follow the instruction

 

You’ll normally receive a response within 15 days.

 

Yours sincerely,

HM Revenue and Customs
**************************************************

Here’s a screenshot of the attached PDF:

Bogus HRMC Tax Refund PDF

If you click the link in the PDF, you will be taken to a bogus website that has been built to mirror the appearance of genuine HMRC web pages. The website takes you through a series of pages that ask for your personal and financial details, ostensibly so that your tax refund can be processed. The fake web pages look quite professional and include the Gov.UK logo.

Screenshot of the first scam web page:

HMRC initial scam web page

Screenshot of the second scam web page:

HMRC Second Scam Web PAge

Screenshot of the third scam web page:

HMRC Thirrd Scam Web Page

Screenshot of the fourth scam web page:

Fourth HMRC Scam Web Page

At this point, you will be automatically redirected to the genuine HMRC website.

Meanwhile, the criminals can collect all of the data you provided and use it to commit credit fraud and identity theft.
Tax-refund scams are very common and target taxpayers not only in the UK, but also in the USAustralia, Canada, and many other countries as well. Be wary of any message that claims that you are eligible for a tax refund and should click a link or open an attached file to apply for the supposed refund.

If you receive such a message,  do not click any links or open any attachments that it contains.  Keep in mind that the tax department in your country is very unlikely to send you such a message.

HMRC has information about recognizing and reporting such phishing scams on its website.

 

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