Use a checklist to decide if a suspicious contact is a scam and not a genuine phone call, text message (SMS) or email.
Check what to look for first
Use the following checklist to decide if the contact you’ve received is a scam. You can use it for phone calls, emails and text messages.
It could be a scam if it:
- rushes you
- is threatening
- is unexpected
- asks for personal information like bank details
- tells you to transfer money
- offers a refund, tax rebate or grant
For more help view examples of HMRC related phishing emails and bogus contact .
Check a list of genuine HMRC contact and campaigns to help you decide if the one you’ve received is genuine.
Other signs to look out for
Suspicious phone calls
HMRC will never:
- leave a voicemail threatening legal action
- threaten arrest
View an example of a bogus phone call.
HMRC does send text messages to some of our customers.
In the text message we might include a link to GOV.UK information or to HMRC webchat.
HMRC will never ask for personal or financial information when we send text messages.
We advise you not to open any links or reply to a text message claiming to be from HMRC that offers you a tax refund in exchange for personal or financial details.
To help fight phishing scams, send any suspicious text messages to 60599 (network charges apply) or email: firstname.lastname@example.org then delete them.
If you have subscribed to the UK Government Channel on WhatsApp, you will receive updates that might include occasional tax-related reminders. These will be single message alerts and you will not be able to reply.
HMRC will not communicate with you for any other reason using WhatsApp.
HMRC uses QR codes in 2 different ways:
in our letters and correspondence we sometimes use QR codes but only to take you to guidance on GOV.UK — we will not take you to a page where you have to input personal information
when you are logged into your HMRC account we might use QR codes to redirect you, for example to your bank login page
If we’re using QR codes in communications you’ll be able to see them on the genuine HMRC contacts page.
To help fight phishing scams, send any suspicious emails containing QR codes to email@example.com then delete them.
Gift or payment vouchers
HMRC will never ask you to pay with gift or payment vouchers.
If you’ve already shared personal details
You can report a disclosure of personal information to the HMRC security team.
If you’ve been a victim of a scam and suffered financial loss, report it to Action Fraud or to Police Scotland by calling 101 if you live in Scotland.