TIM DREW: Phishing fraudsters claim to be from HMRC

Tim Drew
Tim Drew

Fraudsters purporting to represent HMRC have been using a variety of “phishing” ruses to trick would-be victims into disclosing their personal details.

Some have received telephone calls claiming to be from HMRC demanding money for an unpaid tax bill, or requesting personal information in order to receive a tax refund.

I myself received such a “tax refund” notification by email recently.

As is often the case with these missives, it was replete with spelling errors (the sender was “HMRC Tax Reund Services”) and a disdain for the rules of basic literacy.

It ran as follows: “We would like to notify you that you still have an outstanding tax refund of -198.54 from overpaid tax from year 2015/2016, 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”.

I was then asked to “submit a tax request and allow us 5-7 days in order to process it”. The message was signed “HM Revenue and Customs - Crown Copyright”.

There is also another telephone scam where a recorded message is left, stating that HMRC is bringing a lawsuit against the recipient and is going to sue him or her. The recipient is asked to phone 0161 8508494 and press “1” to speak to the officer dealing with the case.

Remember that HMRC will never use telephone calls/texts or emails to tell you about a tax rebate or penalty or ask for personal or payment information, so refuse to divulge any such details and report all such communications to Action Fraud (as I did in this case), either by email or by telephone (0300 123 2040).

Alternatively, you can forward suspicious emails to HMRC (phishing@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk), whom you can also contact at security.custcon@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk if you think that you have given any personal information in reply to a suspicious email or text.

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