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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/phishing-and-bogus-emails-hm-revenue-and-customs-examples/phishing-emails-and-bogus-contact-hm-revenue-and-customs-examples
If you think you have received a HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) related phishing or bogus email or text message, you can check it against the examples shown in this guide.
It will help our investigations if you report all ‘HMRC related’ phishing emails and bogus text messages to us. Even if you receive the same or similar phishing email or text message on multiple occasions, please forward it to email email@example.com and then delete it.
Don’t open any attachments or click on any links within the email or text message, as they may contain malicious software or direct you to a bogus website.
Tax refund and rebate scams
We’ll never send notifications of a tax rebate or refund by email, or ask you to disclose personal or payment information by email. Don’t visit the website within the email or disclose any personal or payment information. A selection of email addresses used to distribute the tax rebate scam emails are below:
Phishing email and website example
An example of a HMRC related phishing email scam and associated phishing website designed to trick people into disclosing personal information is below:
We may occasionally issue text messages, however these messages will never request personal or financial information. If you receive a text message claiming to be from HMRC offering a ‘tax refund’ in exchange for personal or financial details you should not respond. Don’t open any links contained within the message.
It would help our investigations if you could forward details of the text message to 60599 (network charges apply) or email firstname.lastname@example.org before deleting it.
An example of a phishing text message is below:
Tax Rebate scams containing PDF attachments
We’re aware of a phishing campaign advising customers they need to ‘download a PDF attachment’ in order to receive a tax refund. The PDF attachment contains a link to a phishing site requesting personal or financial information. Don’t respond to the email or download the attachment. Please forward it to email email@example.com and then delete it.
The email has been issued in various formats, an example of this scam is below:
Social media scams
We’re aware of direct messages being issued to customers via social media, for example a recent scam was identified on Twitter offering a tax refund. These messages are not from genuine HMRC social media accounts and are a scam. We would never offer a tax rebate or request personal or financial information via a social media direct message.
If you can’t verify the identity of the social media account, we recommend that you don’t engage with it and report details to email firstname.lastname@example.org. An example of a social media scam is below:
HMRC is aware of companies that issue emails or texts advertising their services. They offer to apply to HMRC for a tax rebate on the customer’s behalf, usually for a fee. These companies are not connected with HMRC in any way.
We advise that you should read any ‘small print’ and disclaimers prior to using their services.
Export clearance process (delivery stop order) emails
Emails which claim that goods have been withheld by customs and require a payment before release are known as ‘419 scams’.
We’re aware that customers have received emails requesting personal and financial information or upfront payments in exchange for the following fictitious items:
- lottery winnings or prize money, including lottery winnings
- seized goods or packages (held by customs and excise)
- certificates or bonds
- inheritance payments
An example is below:
Fraudsters may sign off such scams using the name of a genuine HMRC member of staff in an attempt to make the scam appear genuine. If you’re in any doubt, please forward the email to HMRC for verification to email email@example.com.
We’re aware that some people have received telephone calls or have been left a recorded message from people claiming to be from HMRC. These bogus callers may encourage you to provide bank account or personal information in exchange for ‘tax advice’ or a bogus refund, or they may inform you that HMRC is filing a lawsuit against you and that you must make immediate payment or they will send the Police to your house.
This scam has been widely reported and seems to be targeting elderly and vulnerable people.
If you can’t verify the identity of the caller we recommend that you don’t liaise with them. If an incident has resulted in financial loss please report this to Action Fraud.
You can also read about recognising phishing emails and text messages.
Request to complete NRL1 forms and return by fax
Lettings agents and landlords living abroad are being targeted by a series of scams. These request completion of a form NRL1 (by email, letter or fax) and ask for a considerable amount of personal information.
These forms (which may be headed ‘Application for Withholding Certificate for Dispositions by Foreign Persons of UK Real Property Interests’ or ‘Application for a tax-free account and to receive rental income without deduction of tax for Non-UK Residents’) are not issued by HMRC and should not be completed.
We will never ask you to disclose personal information by email or fax.