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Warning against Tax Refund and Rebates Email Scams

HMRC scam emails about tax refund are at it again. Here are the things to be careful of along with safety measures.

Phishing/Suspicious e-Mail

Phishing is hooking of victims and digging for information. Online fraudsters send e-mails to make unsuspecting victims disclose financial and personal information which they use for identity theft. The scams existing today include fake e-mails claiming to be from HMRC, meant to trick victims by informing them of their due tax refund. Therefore, if you get an email claiming that your refund for overpaid PAYE is due, it is not genuine.

Identity Theft

Identity theft is a crime committed through phishing as well as other methods such as telephone, fax, and regular mail or searching through a person’s trash.

Identity theft is a crime involving use of someone’s personal details like their name or Social security registration number to commit criminal offences such as fraud. Normally, the criminals use the personal information of their victims in clearing the funds in their accounts, charging the credit cards of their victims, applying for additional loans, benefits, services or credit cards in their names, filing false tax returns or committing criminal offences. Victims of identity theft may spend a very long time and so much money to clear the mess made by the thieves of their credit record and reputation. The victims may lose employment opportunities; get denied loans, cars, housing or education. They may even be accused of offenses they are not guilty of.

About Tax-Related Scams

A certain employee of our company received the following text message:

HMRC alert! You’re qualified for a £1280.50 tax refund.  To get the refund, kindly enter the following link or click here: [link removed]

HMRC can never email or text you to inform you of your tax refund; this rules out the validity of the text. Also, the text has spelling mistakes; fowling link and your (instead of you’re). You cannot expect these kinds of mistakes from HMRC. You should never click on a link sent in doubtful email or text. 

Regrettably, most of the email scams about tax refunds are quite luring; they use the tax refund offer to make you give up your private details and use them for fraudulent activities. The crime is known as information phishing. The HMRC site shows a few examples of emails sent for tax phishing.

How to Know That an Email for Tax Refund Is Fake

There are endless pointers on how to spot HMRC refund scams; here are some of them.

1. Check the address of the sender. The address may be similar to that of HMRC, such as refunds@hmrc.co.uk, while genuine HMRC email addresses have @hmrc.gov.uk at the end. Unfortunately, there are fraudsters who are able to use the right ending. In this case, you need to watch out for their next move.

2. Check the salutation: It is easy to get email addresses, but this is not the same case for the name. Messages with a greeting like “Dear Customer” are most likely fraudulent.

3. What instructions have you been given? HMRC can never ask for your financial or private details via email. Fake emails ask for your details.

4. Don’t open the attachments. Attachments can be used to plant viruses. Fraudulent emails may instruct you to enter details in the provided attachment. You should never do that.

5. Don’t follow web links – This could be a scam to fish for your private details. Some emails may have links leading to real sites, just so they can make the message look genuine.

6. Report anything doubtful. In case you receive an email message which you suspect to be a HMRC scam, you should report. From this page, you can also see the steps taken in case you had given up your personal details by mistake.

How to Know a Fake Email

Simple: you will never be contacted by HMRC to inform you of a due tax refund via email. HMRC sends regular mail for that purpose. Additionally, you should note that HMRC can never use telephone or email to contact you about your tax refunds. It can never use other companies regarding tax refunds. Basically, the only genuine HMRC messages are those sent via post, period.

If you are genuinely eligible for a tax refund, you can go to http://www.contactnumbers.biz/how-to-claim-a-tax-refund/ to know how to claim it from the HMRC offices.

What Steps To Take If You Get an Email

In case you receive a suspicious message, do not delete it. Instead, forward it to phishing@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk. If you think you may have been a scam victim, immediately report the problem to your card or bank issuer. 

Parting Shot

Despite the fact that the emails have HMRC details such as its logo, they are still scam messages. You need to be careful not to give up your private details. Tax authorities claim that they do send you emails regularly, but they can never ask you to give them your credit card, bank and login information. You can get more on taxes on the official HMRC website.

 

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