Home ScamsPhishing Scams HMRC ‘You are Eligible to Receive a Tax Refund’ Phishing Scam

HMRC ‘You are Eligible to Receive a Tax Refund’ Phishing Scam

by Brett M. Christensen

Outline:
Email purporting to be from the UK’s HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) claims that you are eligible to receive a tax refund. It states that, to receive your refund, you need to click a link to create a government Gateway Account.




Brief Analysis:
The email is not from HMRC and the claim that you can click a link to get a tax refund is untrue.  The email is a phishing scam designed to steal your personal and financial information.

Example:
Subject: Annual tax return !Dear taxpayer : [Email Address Removed]

We are sending this email to announce that after the last annual calculation of your fiscal activity , we have determinated that you are eligible to receive a tax refund of 230.24 GBP. In order to receive your tax return online , you need to create a government gateway account.HMRC tax refund phishing scam email




Detailed Analysis:
According to this email, the UK’s HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has ‘determinated’ that you are eligible to receive a tax refund of £230.24. The email includes a summary table about the supposed refund.  It claims that you must create a ‘government gateway account’ in order to receive the promised refund online.

However, the email is not from HMRC and the refund claim is untrue. If you click the link in the email, you will be taken to a fraudulent webpage designed to look like the genuine HMRC webpage. A form on the fake page asks you to supply personal information about yourself as a means of creating your Tax Gateway account:

HMRC phishing page

After supplying the requested information and clicking ‘Next’, you will be taken to a second fake form that asks for your credit card number, bank account number, security code, and sort code:

HMRC phishing website

Finally, you will be taken to a third fake page that claims that your Gateway account has been created and will become active within 5 business days:
HMRC phishing scam page

At the end of this process, you may thus belive that you have successfully created your Gateway account and that the promised refund will appear in your bank account within a few days.

But, in reality, the criminals responsible for this scam campaign can now collect all of the information that you supplied and use it to commit credit card fraud and identity theft.

The HMRC website includes information about dealing with such phishing scams.

In fact, tax refund phishing scams like this one are very common and regularly target taxpayers, not only in the UK, but in a number of other countries as well.  Be very wary of any email or text 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.




Last updated: October 3, 2016
First published: April 14, 2016
By Brett M. Christensen
About Hoax-Slayer

References
HM Revenue & Customs Refund of Overpayments Phishing Scam
HM Revenue & Customs Tax Refund Phishing Scam
HMRC – Phishing and scams

 

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