HM Revenue and Customs
HMRC warns on tax refund scams
Fraudsters are sending scam emails and SMS-messages that promise tax rebates to trick people into disclosing their account and personal details.
HMRC is calling on people to stay vigilant in the fight against fraudsters, who are using email and text messages to scam them out of their savings.
The tax authority is currently processing tax refunds after the end of the 2017 to 2018 tax year. However, criminals are taking advantage of this by sending out scam emails and SMS-messages to trick the public into thinking they have received a tax rebate so they hand over their account and personal details.
Treasury Minister Mel Stride MP, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, said:
HMRC only informs you about tax refunds through the post or through your pay via your employer. All emails, text messages, or voicemail messages saying you have a tax refund are a scam. Do not click on any links in these messages, and forward them to HMRC’s phishing email address and phone number.
We know that criminals will try and use events like the end of the financial year, the self-assessment deadline, and the issuing of tax refunds to target the public and attempt to get them to reveal their personal data. It is important to be alert to the danger.
Many of these fraudulent emails and texts include links which take the user to dubious websites where their information can be stolen. These sites are a focus of HMRC’s efforts to tackle fraud. In March 2018, it requested 2,672 phishing websites be taken down and received 84,549 phishing reports. This kind of phishing is expected to continue in the coming months as genuine tax refunds are issued.
Income Tax for 6 April 2017 to 5 April 2018 will be calculated over the coming months and anyone owed a genuine tax rebate will receive a tax calculation letter by post between June and October.
If you haven’t paid the right amount at the end of the tax year, HMRC will post you a tax calculation. This can be a P800 or a Simple Assessment letter. If you have paid too much tax, the letter will explain how you can get your refund paid to you. If you have not paid enough tax, the letter will tell you how much you owe and how you can pay.
HMRC advises customers to:
- recognise the signs - genuine organisations like banks and HMRC will never contact you out of the blue to ask for your PIN, password or bank details
- stay safe - do not give out private information, reply to text messages, download attachments or click on links in emails you weren’t expecting
- take action - forward suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC to email@example.com and texts to 60599, or contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 to report any suspicious calls or use its online fraud reporting tool
- check GOV.UK for information on how to avoid and report scams and recognise genuine HMRC contact
- if you think you have received an HMRC-related phishing/bogus email or text message, you can check it against the examples shown in this guide
HMRC has taken a range of action to protect the public from scams, including:
- from April 2017 to March 2018, reported 14,631 malicious websites for takedown
- from April 2017 to March 2018, received 771,227 customer phishing email/SMS referrals
- from April 2017 to March 2018, received 1.1 million direct visits to HMRC security pages on GOV.UK
- implemented SMS firewalling - working with industry to deliver a pilot to reduce SMS abuse, resulting in a 90% decrease in reported abuse of protected HMRC SMS tags
Latest News from
HM Revenue and Customs
Check the tax rules on waiving your income or donating to charity20/05/2020 12:48:00
HMRC advice for people choosing to give up their income to support their business or donate to charity during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme set to launch20/05/2020 11:10:00
Employers will be able to make claims through the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme from 26 May.
Regulations temporarily suspended to fast-track supplies of PPE to NHS staff and protect companies hit by COVID-1915/05/2020 16:19:00
New measures announced yesterday will give vital support to frontline NHS staff battling COVID-19 and support businesses under pressure as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
Eligibility for government childcare offers protected06/05/2020 10:12:10
Temporary measures ensure critical workers will still be eligible for childcare offers if their income has changed due to coronavirus
Tax credits customers will continue to receive payments even if working fewer hours due to COVID-1905/05/2020 11:10:00
People who can't work their normal hours because of coronavirus (COVID-19) will still receive their usual tax credits payments.
Self-employed invited to get ready to make their claims for coronavirus (COVID-19) support04/05/2020 15:20:00
HMRC will begin contacting customers who may be eligible for the government’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS).
HMRC to accept service of legal proceedings by email12/04/2020 15:05:00
The service of new legal proceedings and pre-action letters on HMRC should be via email during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Border Force prioritising checks on medical equipment10/04/2020 08:12:00
Coronavirus (COVID-19) update: to make sure medical equipment reaches the NHS frontline quicker, Border Force will be prioritising checks on their shipments.