If so, the chances are that it could be an internet scam. HMRC regularly suffer from criminals posing as the official tax service to obtain personal information fraudulently. Here is our guide to some of the recent and most common tax scams you may encounter.
E-mails promising a tax rebate
One of the most common ways that fraudsters try and obtain your personal details is by sending out a ‘phishing’ e-mail telling you that you can apply online for a tax rebate. Such an e-mail will generally contain a link to a website where you will complete lots of your personal information with the promise of receiving a tax refund.
HMRC does not inform customers of tax refunds via e-mail, so you should always ignore such an e-mail.
Examples of e-mail addresses where these fake e-mails are sent from include:
Notice of Underreported Income
Another common e-mail scam involves fraudsters sending out fake ‘notice of underreported income’ messages. These come from a series of plausible looking e-mail addresses (such as firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com).
The email links to a fake HMRC website entitled ‘Fraud Application’ and asks that you download and review a tax statement document. The website then opens an executable file on your machine which can compromise your computer’s security.
Update from HM Revenue & Customs’ email
A similar phishing e-mail scam involves criminals sending out emails sent asking recipients to ‘update your account to the new EV SSL certification’. This is a scam email attempting to steal user IDs and passwords.
You should never disclose personal information such as User IDs or passwords – HMRC will never ask you for these, especially by e-mail.
Telephone tax rebate scams
As well as a number of e-mail scams, there are fraudsters that call people purporting to be from HMRC. During the telephone call they may ask you to confirm personal data or password information.
Often, these calls will claim that you have a tax rebate. The callers will ask you to give them your bank details or other information in order to pay this tax refund to you.
If you receive such a call, don’t provide any information. Only give passwords and personal information if you instigated the telephone call and you are 100% sure that the person on the other end of the line is an HMRC employee.