According to this seemingly official email, which purports to be from the UK government, you have a tax refund available.
The email instructs you to click a login link to access the UK Government Gateway portal and claim your refund. Supposedly, the refund will be sent directly to your credit card account. The message also claims that the link will soon expire and you only have 24 hours to claim the refund.
But, alas, the email is not from the UK government and the promised tax refund is not real.
Instead, the email is a typical tax refund phishing scam designed to steal your credit card details and other sensitive personal information.
If you click the link in the email, you will be taken to a fraudulent website designed to look like it belongs to the UK government. Once on the site, you will be instructed to complete a tax refund claim form that asks for your name and contact details, your credit card numbers, and a large amount of other identifying personal information.
Once you submit this fake form, online crooks can collect the information you supplied and use it to commit credit card fraud and steal your identity.
There are many variations of these tax refund scams. While the version discussed here targets UK residents, other versions are aimed at taxpayers in the US, Canada, Australia, India, South Africa, and several other nations. The scammers tend to use the same false tax refund claims but feature the names and logos of different tax agencies, depending on what country they are targeting.
Be wary of any email or text message that claims that you are eligible for an unexpected tax refund and should click a link or open an attached file to get it. Your tax agency is very unlikely to send you a generic and unsolicited message that asks you to click a link and supply sensitive personal and financial information.
UK tax agency HMRC has information about recognising and reporting phishing scams on its website.
A screenshot of the scam email:
Importance NoticeAfter 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 YouI 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 DateHoax-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!