Emails that seem to originate from HMRC and offer fraudulent tax refunds are prevalent, and we’re also seeing SMS texts. Unfortunately, it can be hard to tell the difference between a genuine offer and an HMRC Tax refund email or text message scam.
What Is A Tax Refund Scam?
Tax Refund Scammers will send you fake emails and messages that contain hyperlinks to shady websites that might steal personal information.
HMRC’s efforts to combat fraud centres have been ongoing and 2672 phishing websites were asked to be taken down, with 84,549 complaints, in March 2018. Genuine tax refunds are scheduled to be delivered in the coming months, which means this phishing is expected to continue.
HMRC only notifies you of any tax refund owed by written correspondence. All emails, texts, and voicemails claiming you are entitled to a tax refund are fraudulent.
We advise that you send these messages to HMRC’s phishing email address and phone number instead of clicking on any of the links contained in the messages themselves.
How Do Tax Refund Scams Work?
You will never get an email from HMRC informing you that you are qualified for a tax refund in your inbox. Therefore, if you receive an email concerning a tax refund, you should not assume that HMRC sent it.
In addition, the HMRC will never send an email requesting personal information or payment details.
Therefore, if you get an email claiming to be from HMRC that discusses a tax refund, you should assume that the correspondence is fraudulent. The HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has compiled several instances of fraudulent refund emails.
The HM Revenue and Customs guide against phishing, and phoney emails further breaks it down in great detail. Con artists who pretend to be from legitimate companies like the Post Office when they are trying to steal your money can send emails. These prompt you to click on a link that is provided.
The link will often send you to a fake website, where you will be prompted to input your bank account or payment card credentials to proceed. After obtaining this information, a criminal may use it to steal money from your bank account.
How To Spot an HMRC Tax Refund Scam Email?
If HMRC emails you a tax refund or payback, it’s a fraud.
HMRC tax refund email scam will never offer a vindication, tax relief, or seek personal information (such as an address or bank details).
Be suspicious of emails that start with “Dear Sir/Madam,” “Dear customer,” or “Hello,” rather than your name. Emails from HMRC will contain instructions on how to report scams.
How To Spot an HMRC Tax Refund Scam SMS/Text Message?
Fake HMRC notices are a typical SMS scam. Scammers employ number spoofing to make your phone show ‘HMRC’ instead of a phone number.
These messages frequently include links to websites that capture personal information or transmit malware that may lead to identity theft and money fraud. You can get HMRC messages, but they never ask for personal details. HMRC claims it won’t text or email tax refund recipients.
How Can You Protect Yourself & Your Family Against Tax Refund Scams?
Here are some simple steps you can take to prevent yourself from falling victim to a tax refund scam.
- Pre-file. The most excellent approach to avoid tax refund scams is filing early during tax season.
- Credit-check regularly. Use a credit monitoring service to watch your credit score, new credit inquiries, and your data sales on the Dark Web. This can be avoided.
- All tax refund emails, texts, and voicemails are scams. Do not click on these links and forward them to HMRC’s phishing email at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Shred any documentation containing sensitive information. Old tax returns and financial information may be on paper; as part of an anti-fraud “hygiene” campaign, scan, upload, and trash these papers.
- National Insurance Number security. Memorise your NI Number and keep any documentation that has it stated secured somewhere safe.
What Should You Do If You Come Across a Tax Refund Scam?
Here are the actions you should take if you’re a victim.
- Verify your tax debt. Visit the HMRC payments website. If the sum is different, it’s a fake. Hang up on impostors. Keep scam papers to report them.
- Cancel a transaction if you’ve transferred money to a scammer. Call the HMRC’s fraud department if you give out bank or credit card information. Then, immediately freeze or deactivate your account.
- Follow the fraud victim’s checklist and report it. You can report any instances of fraud to email@example.com. Forward fraudulent texts to 0300 200 3310, then share the number.
- Protect your identity. A stolen tax return includes your National Insurance Number.
- Put a fraud warning or credit freeze on your credit reports. Use strong passwords and two-factor authentication to protect your accounts.
- Even if you’ve handled a tax scam, consider identity theft protection since thieves may use your information to create fraudulent loans, perform bank scams, alter your address and steal your mail, or commit crimes using your name.
Given All Kinds of Tax Refund Scams, Is Tax Refund Legitimate?
HMRC scams come in many different forms. The agency that collects taxes says that one of the more recent ones works like this: hackers break into the computers of tax preparers and accountants. Then, they steal information about their customers and file fake tax returns.
The HMRC will send those taxpayers an actual check for their refund. Then, soon after, the thieves call the person who got the bill, pretending to be from the HMRC department, and say there’s been a mistake. They want the tax refund to be sent to them by wire.
But, of course, their money is already gone when the taxpayer finds out what’s happening. HMRC automatically and manually refunds overpayment tax. There are time constraints for claiming unpaid tax and applying for a tax rebate, so stay on top of your taxes.
You can help protect yourself from these crimes if you know how to spot an HMRC Tax refund email scam and what to do to avoid it.