HMRC Text Message Phishing Scam
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HMRC ‘Pending Payment’ Text Message Phishing Scam

by Brett M. Christensen

People in the UK are receiving text messages about a supposed pending payment from UK tax agency HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). 

The message urges you to follow a link and fill in a form to claim your payment.

However, the message is not from HMRC and there is no pending payment.

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

Here’s what the scam text message looks like:

HMRC Pending Payment Text Message Scam

If you follow the link, you will be taken to a fraudulent website that looks like it belongs to HMRC.  The bogus site includes the GOV.UK logo and secondary links to make it appear legitimate.  However, the site has no connection to GOV.UK.

Once on the fake site, you will be asked to provide your name and address:
HMRC Fake Name and Address Form

After you click the “Start Claim” button, a “Tax Refund Claim” form will load in your browser. The form asks for personal information, including your email address and email password and your credit card details:

Fake HMRC Tax Refund Claim FormFake Tax Refund Form HMRC

After completing the form, you may be redirected to the genuine HMRC website.

Meanwhile, online criminals can use the stolen information to commit credit card fraud, hijack your email account, and steal your identity. 
Tax refund scams like this  are very common and are often sent via email as well as SMS.  Such scams regularly target taxpayers in many different countries.

Be wary of any email or text message that claims that you can get a tax refund by clicking a link or opening an attached file.

HMRC has published information about 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