No, sadly you don’t have hundreds of pounds worth of rebate waiting for you
No one likes paying tax, so the news you are due an unexpected rebate of hundreds of pounds is something that will see hearts leap across the land.
Except it’s fake – and rather than getting a nice little windfall, you’ll be handing your details straight to scammers.
“We identified an error in the calculation of your tax from the last payment,” one example of the email pretending to be from HMRC reads. It adds that £675.95 has already been sent back.
Then comes the hook.
“In order for us to return the excess payment, we need to confirm a few extra details.”
To get the money you need to click on the link, then put in your details on the scammer’s site – and as soon as they have that information they will either use it to steal cash from you, or sell the details to someone else who will.
Sadly, the example of the scam sent to one of Mirror Online’s team is far from the only one.
The new HMRC scam
Complaints site Resolver points out vigilant consumers can beat this sort of scam if they know what to look out for.
“HMRC never contact customers who are due a tax refund by email. They always send letters via post,” Resolver founder James Walker explained.
“HMRC do sometimes contact you by text, but they’ll never ask for any personal details or financial information. Beware of texts directing you to follow a link.
“If you’ve received an email or text claiming to be from HMRC, you should send it to email@example.com and then delete it straight away.
“You should never open any attachments or links in one of these emails.”
When HMRC will contact you about a tax refunds
HM Revenue and Customs will never use texts or emails to:
- Tell you about a tax rebate or penalty
- Ask for personal or payment information
The tax body also said it would never put a figure on the alleged non-payment in the message itself.
If it does get in touch via phone, email or text, it will ask the customer to log into their account.
If HMRC needs to contact you about anything confidential they’ll write to you instead.
I’ve replied to an email: What should I do?
Contact the HMRC security team if you think you’ve given any personal information away in reply to a suspicious email or text.
Include brief details of what you disclosed (for example name, address, HMRC User ID, password) but don’t give your personal details in the email.
What to do if you think you’ve been scammed
If you receive an email, call or correspondence that seems suspicious, or if you see any unusual information on your account, do not ignore it.
Change your passwords and report your concerns to Action Fraud – they’ll be able to look into the case for you.
Where you believe your bank details may have been compromised, notify your bank as soon as possible.
You can also request a copy of your credit report – this will list your entire six year financial history – including any misuse of your personal information, such as an unidentified loan application.
Review every entry on your credit report and if you see an account or even a credit search from a company that you do not recognise, notify the credit reference agency. They all offer a free service to victims of fraud.