Fake HMRC phishing scams

15 December, 2018

Fake HMRC phishing scams continue to trick taxpayers into parting with their well-earned cash. The HMRC website contains the following helpful information to save you being caught …

Email addresses

HMRC will never send notifications by email about tax rebates or refunds. Do not:

  • visit the website
  • open any attachments
  • disclose any personal or payment information

A selection of email addresses used to distribute the tax rebate scam emails are below:

  • 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

Example of a phishing email and bogus website

Example of a GOV.UK fake email which is trying to get the user to click on a hyperlink and enter personal details.

Text messages

HMRC will never ask for personal or financial information when we send text messages. Do not reply if you get a text message claiming to be from HMRC offering you a tax refund in exchange for personal or financial details. Do not open any links in the message. Send any phishing text messages to 60599 (network charges apply) or email phishing@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk then delete it. An example of a phishing text message is below:

Example of a bogus HM gov mobile text message which is trying to get the user to click on a hyperlink and enter personal details.

Tax rebate scams containing PDF attachments

HMRC is aware of a phishing campaign telling customers they need to ‘download a PDF attachment’ to get a tax refund. The PDF attachment contains a link to a phishing site asking for personal or financial information. Do not reply to the email or download the attachment. Email it to phishing@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk and then delete it. The email has been issued in various formats. An example of this scam is below:

Example of a Tax Rebate scam email which has PDF attachments asking the user to download the PDF which contains a link to a phishing website asking for personal or financial information.

Bogus phone calls

HMRC is aware of an automated phone call scam which will tell you HMRC is filing a lawsuit against you, and to press one to speak to a caseworker to make a payment. We can confirm this is a scam and you should end the call immediately. his scam has been widely reported and often targets elderly and vulnerable people. ther scam calls may offer a tax refund and request you to provide your bank or credit card information. If you cannot verify the identity of the caller, we recommend that you do not speak to them. f you’ve been a victim of the scam and suffered financial loss, report it to Action Fraud. he calls use a variety of phone numbers. To help our investigations you should report full details of the scam by email to: phishing@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk, including the:

  • date of the call
  • phone number used
  • content of the call

Social media scams

HMRC is aware of direct messages sent to customers through social media.  recent scam was identified on Twitter offering a tax refund. hese messages are not from genuine HMRC social media accounts and are a scam. We never use social media to:

  • offer a tax rebate
  • request personal or financial information

If you cannot verify the identify of the social media account, send the details by email to: phishing@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk and ignore it.

Refund companies

HMRC is aware of companies that send emails or texts advertising their services. They offer to apply to HMRC for a tax rebate on your behalf, usually for a fee. These companies are not connected with HMRC in any way. You should read the ‘small print’ and disclaimers before using their services.

So beware!

Blog post by: Ian Marlow


HfM Tax & Accounts Winner 2019 - HfMTax.
Personal Tax Returns Adviser of the Year 2018 - HfMTax.
2016 Tax Awards Winner - Best UK Personal Tax Service Provider 2016