HMRC refund scam

A little warning: there seems to a mighty believable HMRC tax refund scam doing the rounds at present: they contact you by text to tell you you have a refund ready, then direct you to a fake website where they then steal all of your details.

The reasons why it’s quite believable are that the text seems to come from the actual number HMRC sent self-assessment tax reminders to me on early this year. So, either that number has been hacked or bought since, or the scam artists responsible for this whole thing have been the ones sending the legitimate warnings, which means they’ve been playing a very long game, and that’s kind of impressive. The website (at this address: is also pretty flawless in execution: if you’re familiar with the HMRC site there is little to differentiate it.

However, with just a bit more thought you can recognise it as a scam for these reasons:

1) I’d expect the sender of the text, if they know the exact amount of my rebate, to know whether I am a ‘sir’ or a ‘madam’.

2) I’d also expect them to know how to spell ‘madam’.

(2.5 – just realised also that ‘the tax year 2016’ isn’t an actual tax year – it should say ‘2015-2016’)

3) the website seems passable but the telltale details are there in the footer: if you click any of these links (rye presence of which do make the site look very legit), it will simply bring you back to the top of the page instead of to where it said it would take you.

4) to get this apparent rebate you apparently have to give them *every single bit of your most important identification and bank details*. Obviously, real HMRC would ask you to log in with your 13 digit code that they send you when you create an account to manage your taxes online.

5) if you’re due a rebate, they normally tell you on completion of your tax return, although I guess that’s only for self-assessed taxes, so here’s who they’re clearly aiming to hook: cash-strapped PAYE users who have no experience managing their own taxes. Which is also what makes this so utterly sick and wrong, because they have the least and have therefore the most to lose.

Share and protect 😀

For more info on scams visit the Which consumer rights website.