Beware of the tax refund phishing scam [UK]

HM Revenue and Customs officials have warned taxpayers to beware of phishing emails sent out to take advantage of the January 31st tax return deadline. Telling recipients they are due a tax refund, the email asks the user to fill in an online form with their credit card or banking details, reports the BBC.

A spokesman for HMRC said that taxpayers will only be notified of a refund by post. "We never use e-mails, telephone calls or external companies in these circumstances," he said, before adding that anyone who receives such an email should first forward the email to HMRC for investigation, and then delete it.

Over 20,000 fake tax refund emails have been sent out in the past week, and an increase is expected following the January 31st deadline as taxpayers wait to hear about genuine refunds.

Scammers in the UK, Austria, Mexico, South Korea, the USA, Thailand and Japan have already been shut down as a result of investigations by HMRC and law enforcement agencies within the last year.

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12 Comments

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Yes, me too, or rather my wife got on on 31 Dec. As she really was expecting a tax refund, we did initially think it might be genuine - I have seen plenty of these scams, but this one was better than most. However the request for credit card details on the next page gave it away - HMRC (i) refunds by cheque and (ii) doesn't volunteer payments!

I am still suprised people click on links in emails to do with their bank.

If I get an email from my bank, I will visit their site through an explorer page, not by clicking on the link.

lol i got a few of these emails they where really well made i will give them that, id already got my tax return back anyway.

Blimey that's still doing the rounds ? I recieved one of them on the 31st Dec 2009. Must be said, I've seen loads of phishing over the years but that one was particularly well made.

So, I take it the tax day in the UK is Jan 31?

" HM Revenue and Customs officials have warned taxpayers to beware of phishing emails sent out to take advantage of the January 31st tax return deadline. Telling recipients they are due a tax refund, the email asks the user to fill in an online form with their credit card or banking details, reports the BBC."

How would you be due a refund if you haven't filed yet?

BottleTop said,
So, I take it the tax day in the UK is Jan 31?

" HM Revenue and Customs officials have warned taxpayers to beware of phishing emails sent out to take advantage of the January 31st tax return deadline. Telling recipients they are due a tax refund, the email asks the user to fill in an online form with their credit card or banking details, reports the BBC."

How would you be due a refund if you haven't filed yet?


Lots of similar scams go for a blanket approach, send the email to every address you can and your bound to find at least 1 person that has already filed. With a bit of luck that person will fall for the scam too.

BottleTop said,
How would you be due a refund if you haven't filed yet?

The paper deadline was the 31st October, this is the online deadline, and when you file online it links into their computer systems and tells you right away how much you owe, or how much they owe you.