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HMRC ‘Reimbursements are Available’ Tax Refund Phishing Scam

by Brett M. Christensen

According to this email, which purports to be from the UK’s HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), you only have 48 hours to click a link and claim an outstanding tax refund. 

The message warns that reimbursements are only available for a certain period of time.

However, the email is not from HMRC and clicking the link does not take you to a legitimate refund claim form.

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

If you click the link, you will be taken to a fraudulent website that has been built to emulate the genuine HMRC website. Once on the site, you will first be asked to provide your name and contact details, your address, your date of birth, and “background information” such as your mother’s maiden name.

Next, you will be taken to a second form that asks for your credit card numbers and other identifying personal information.

After you submit the fake refund form, you will be automatically redirected to the genuine HMRC website.

But, criminals can now collect the information that you supplied and use it to commit credit card fraud and steal your identity.

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:

HMRC Tax Refund 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,