Home > Financial Scams > HM Revenue and Custom Scam

HM Revenue and Custom Scam

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 5 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Scam Tax Refund Hm Revenue & Customs

One of life’s worst tasks is paying taxes and giving up your hard-earned money. But it’s something we all have to do like it or not. So when we get the news that we’re due to get some money back, it seems like a red letter day.

However, there are criminals eager to take advantage of that jubilation, and you might find that your eagerness to claim a supposed refund could lead to a case of identity theft, plus bring you a lot of spam.

How It Works

Quite unexpectedly, you might receive an e-mail with the following header:

From: HM Revenue & Customs [mailto:admin@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk]

Sent: 01 February 2007 11:24

To: Xxxxxxx, Xxxx

Subject: HM Revenue & Customs - Notification.

Of course, you’re going to open it, because it looks official. It becomes particularly interesting when you read it and the letter tells you that you’re due a refund of tax that you’ve paid. All you have to do is click on the link which will bring you to a form where you fill out your details to claim the money. Naturally, you’re eager to do that without thinking further and give out all the personal information they request.

The problem is that there’s no refund, and the whole mail is fake. It’s phishing, where the link directs you to a counterfeit web site where your personal information is harvested by criminals, but with a slightly different twist, and aimed specifically at people in Britain. But there’s also another little sting in the tail. The HM Customs & Revenue graphic that’s part of the mail contains code that can indicate to the sender that you’ve opened the mail and leaves you prone to receive a lot more spam – just to add insult to injury.

Once you’ve filled in the form, you’ve given the scammers all they need to steal your identity – and you’ll be waiting around in vain for any money.

How to Avoid It

It’s very easy to say that you simply shouldn’t open the mail, but for many people a sense that it might be official means they feel compelled to read it, and, of course, that’s exactly what the crooks trade upon.

But think for a minute. How often have you had official government communications by e-mail? The answer is never. You’d receive a letter like this in the post, addressed to you, and you only (if you look at the header, you’ll see that it’s sent to many people – it’s spam).

The problem with this mail is that, even if you don’t fall for the scam and fill out the form, you’ve still laid yourself open to spam merely by opening the mail. However, a good spam filter will help you cut down on that. It’s not a perfect solution, but better than nothing.

It goes without saying that you should never give out personal information without knowing that it’s going exactly where you want, on a secure site. That means not following links in e-mails.

Approach any mail that requires you to click on a link or give up sensitive information with great caution. Probably the best solution is to check with the institution or agency involved – and that means by either calling them, or e-mailing an enquiry using an address obtained from their site (typing in the URL, rather than following a link).

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
I live and work in Germany and I receivedan e.mail this morning which says I am due 456.99 pounds rebate which pleased me no end then I thought it was too good to be true but now I know this is a scam because I dont pay British tax as I,m on the German system I can see how some people can be fooled by this.
obersteinsaint - 28-Jun-11 @ 8:35 AM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Norbs
    Re: Sky TV Scam
    Call from ‘Sky tv’, we will change your box because we have had lots of complaints about it. Security check - what is your date of birth? OK because you…
    23 May 2019
  • Dusty
    Re: Sky TV Scam
    Call from 01254 786422 stating calling from sky to say they had been having difficulties with sky boxes and they were updating a they would send out a…
    14 April 2019
  • Doccon
    Re: Sky TV Scam
    Just had a Man claiming to be from Sky telling me I was about to receive a new sky box it would arrive Staurday as SKY had received many compliants…
    10 April 2019
  • Ray
    Re: Sky TV Scam
    Just had Indian lady claiming to be from Sky telling me I was about to receive a new sky box....I was asked my d.o.b and sort code(for verification) I…
    16 March 2019
  • Cols
    Re: Sky TV Scam
    Had a phone call from "Sky Protect" today offering a huge discount on Sky equipment insurance. "Paul" wanted my card numbers. I refused to give them,…
    4 February 2019
  • Oggy
    Re: Sky TV Scam
    Received a phone call from Indian lady called 'Lara" at 8:45am purporting to be from Sky. I have a refund due of £202 it seems but first can I confirm…
    10 October 2018
  • Sal
    Re: Sky TV Scam
    Had a call today from a Indian lady saying I overpaid my sky bill by £202 she then asked my dob then requested the expiration date of my card I asked…
    7 September 2018
  • SimplyMe
    Re: Sky TV Scam
    Just received same call purporting to be from Sky Refund Department. When I said I had something to tell him (i.e. not a Sky customer) he hung…
    23 August 2018
  • Syed Ali
    Re: Sky TV Scam
    I received a call 9.30am the lady calling from 07125656364 said she is calling from sky from billing dept and want to refund overpaid amount to sky of…
    14 August 2018
  • Maggie
    Re: Sky TV Scam
    I’ve just had a phone call from07125656364 telling me she was from sky and saying that I had overpayed £202 and they want to refund me. She then asked…
    6 August 2018