Phishing E Mails
Phishing is emailing a person fraudulently in order to obtain their personal/financial information such as passwords, credit card or bank account details. These emails often include a link to a bogus website encouraging you to enter your personal details. There are many phishing e mails being sent to the public claiming to be from HMRC. It is important that people recognise these emails as fraudulent and do not reply to them.
Tax Rebate Scam
A current common phishing e mail being circulated is a tax rebate scam. The emails claim to come from HMRC.
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) do not send notifications of a tax rebate by email and will never ask you to disclose personal or payment information by email.
A selection of fake email addresses used to distribute fake tax rebate emails can be seen below:
HMRC do not send e-mails or use any of the above addresses to notify you of a tax rebate, or ask you to disclose personal or payment information.
If you receive an e mail that comes from one of the above addresses or that you have reason to believe is fraudulent, do not visit the website contained within the email or disclose any personal or payment information.
Requests for payment or personal information
A second scam HMRC is aware of is one that sees customers receiving emails requesting personal details or payment in exchange for:
- lottery winnings
- seized goods/packages (held by Customs and Excise)
- inheritance payments
These are known as ’419′ scams. HMRC will never request payment or personal details via email.
Tax Refund company scam
HMRC is aware of fraudulent companies who are issuing emails to advertise their services. These companies can apply to HMRC for a rebate of National Insurance/tax on the customer’s behalf, usually for a fee. Currently some fraudsters are taking people’s fees and then failing to provide what was promised by them. These companies are not connected with HMRC in any way. Many lawful tax rebate companies do exist and customers are advised to check the legitimacy of tax rebate companies before using them.
As well as via e mails, criminals can scam the public in other ways. HMRC is aware of a letter scam which is being issued to customers by post. This letter is requesting payment of a fixed fee via credit card. A website address is provided within the letter to activate the EU VAT registration. These letters are not issued by HMRC and the registration should not be completed.
There have been reports made by HMRC customers of telephone calls where the caller claimed to be from HMRC and asked them for their bank details so a tax refund can be made for a fee.
HMRC will never ask you for a fee to provide any services including repayments of tax. If you cannot verify the identity of the caller HMRC recommends that you report it to the police immediately.
HMRC has also received reports of bogus callers who visit people at their own homes offering tax refunds in exchange for a fee. HMRC would never contact you in such a manner and you should report this to the police.
SMS text messages
If you receive an SMS text message claiming to be from HMRC asking you to contact any number other than Tel 0845 300 3900 you should not respond. This warning only applies to any SMS text messages from HMRC. It does not apply to any messages left in person by HMRC officers asking you to ring them back at your local office.