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HMRC “Pending Tax Refund” Phishing Scam

by Brett M. Christensen

Email purporting to be an “Important Message From HM Revenue & Customs” advises that you have a pending tax refund and need to click a “Start Refund Now” link to claim your money.

Brief Analysis:
The email is not from HMRC  and you certainly cannot get a refund by clicking the link. In fact, the email is just the latest in a long line of “tax refund” phishing scams that are designed to trick you into divulging personal and financial information to criminals.

Subject: Important Message From HM Revenue & CustomsPending Tax Refund

We would like to notify you that you still have an outstanding tax refund of £308.58 from overpaid tax from year ending 2015, despite our previous letters regarding your refund we are yet to receive your claim. Requests for refunds are time limited please use the link below to complete your claim online also note the following:

* You have until the 31 december 2016 to make your claim
* Reference No: 2015/597645/A
* We can only process a refund for the tax year we have detailed aboveStart Refund Now ↣ [Link Removed]

We aim to send repayments within 2 weeks, but it may take longer in some cases. You should wait 4 weeks before contacting us about the payment.

HM Revenue and Customs

* Crown Copyright

Detailed Analysis:
According to this “important message”, which claims to be from UK tax agency  HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), you have a pending tax refund of  £308.58. Supposedly, the refund is a result of overpaid tax from 2015. The message claims that HMRC has sent previous letters to you about the refund but it did not receive a response. It warns that requests for refunds are time limited and that you must click a link to claim your refund by 31st December 2016.

However, the email is not from HMRC and the claim that you can click a link to get an unexpected tax refund is not true. Instead, the email is a phishing scam that attempts to trick you into giving a large amount of your personal and financial information to criminals.

If you click the link, you will be taken to a fraudulent web page that hosts the following bogus refund claim form:

HMRC Pending Tax Refund Phishing Scam

If you fill in the form and hit the “Submit” Button, the criminals can use the information you supplied to commit credit card fraud and identity theft.

Tax refunds scams like this one are very common and regularly target taxpayers all around the world.

The following Hoax-Slayer YouTube video provides more information about such tax refund scams:

Last updated: December 6, 2016
First published: December 6, 2016
By Brett M. Christensen
About Hoax-Slayer

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