Home ScamsPhishing Scams HMRC ‘Payment Credit Issuance’ Tax Refund Phishing Scam

HMRC ‘Payment Credit Issuance’ Tax Refund Phishing Scam

by Brett M. Christensen

According to this email, you are eligible to receive a “Payment Credit Issuance” from the UK’s HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).  

The email, which features the HMRC logo, instructs you to click a link to claim your tax refund.

However, the email is not from HMRC and clicking the link will not get you the promised refund.

Instead, the email is just one variant in a series of very similar tax refund phishing scams that have targeted UK taxpayers for a number of years.

If you click the link in the scam email, you will be taken to a fraudulent website and asked to complete a “Tax Refund Request” form.  The fake website has been built to emulate the genuine HMRC site. It includes logos, graphics and footer information stolen from HMRC.

The fake refund form asks you to supply your name, address, and other identifying information, ostensibly as a means of verifying your identity.  It also asks for your credit card numbers, supposedly so that your refund can be transferred directly to your credit card account.

After completing the form, you may see a final message stating that your refund request will be processed shortly.

But, meanwhile, online criminals can collect the information you supplied and use it to steal your identity.  They can also use your credit card to make fraudulent transactions.

Phishing scam campaigns like this one are very common. They target taxpayers in many countries.  Be wary of any unsolicited email or text message that claims that you can get a tax refund by clicking a link or opening an attached file. 

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

An example of the scam email:

2018 HMRC Tax Refund Scam Email

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,