How to deal with fake HMRC emails and calls

Got an email about a tax refund you weren’t expecting? Been threatened with court summons by phone? Our guidance explains how to deal with fake HMRC emails and calls so you don’t get hooked in.

Have you received an email from a spam address pretending to be HMRC? Have you been promised a tax refund and advised how you can claim it? Have you received a call advising you of outstanding tax debts with threat of court action?  If it feels suspicious, it probably is. 

There are many phishing emails currently being circulated that appear to be from HMRC.    Some are asking you to log into your Self-Assessment account and some are bold enough to ask for your bank details so you can receive your unexpected tax refund.  Most of the time, HMRC will not contact you by email and if you do receive an email you are unsure of, you should never open the link within the email, and log in to your account independently via HMRC’s main website https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-revenue-customs    

Generally any email asking for your details will be spam. 

Also, there are dubious callers scaring taxpayers into believing they have unpaid tax and are being threatened with court summons.  This is usually also nuisance calling and they are hoping you will make a payment there and then.  You should not do this under any circumstances.  This type of phone call would never be the first time you are reminded of a bad debt and you will have received numerous reminders by post beforehand if you really do have anything outstanding, and you can then call back and make a payment correctly.

What is phishing?

It’s the fraudulent act of contacting a person (mail/call/text) in order to obtain their personal or financial information such as passwords, credit card or bank details. Be aware that HMRC only ever contact by phone or post and any emails will only be of a general nature. HMRC never send notifications of tax rebates or anything confidential by text or email.

What to do?

If you receive an email or an unexpected phone call, please do NOT:

·         Give out your private information

·         Reply to any text messages

·         Download any attachment

·         Click any links in the email

·         Disclose any payment information

 

Here are few examples of email addresses of scam emails:

  • service.refund@hmrc.gov

  • secure@hmrc.co.uk

  • taxrefund-notice@hmrc.gov.uk

  • taxrefund@hmrc.gov.uk

  • refund-help@hmrc.gov.uk

  • refund.alert@hmrc.gov.uk

  • refunds@hmrc.gov.uk

  • rebate@hmrc.gov.uk

  • HM-Revenue-&-Customs@ztoro.com

 

If you do notice anything suspicious report it to:

·         Action Fraud https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/reporting-fraud-and-cyber-crime

·         Google or other- If it appears as an advert in their search result

·         Email phishing@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk

·         Text 60599 - text messages are charged at your network rate

 

You can check HMRC’s detailed guidance on recognising and dealing with scams if you need further information https://www.gov.uk/topic/dealing-with-hmrc/phishing-scams

Don’t get caught, be prepared, seek advice if in doubt.