As we have reported here previously, millions of PAYE taxpayers are due repayments of income tax due to PAYE coding errors in recent years. This has presented fraudsters with a golden opportunity to use the promise of an unexpected tax refund to lure unsuspecting taxpayers into providing personal banking information.
There is a long history of phishing emails purporting to be from HMRC, and over 180 sites sending out such emails were shut down over a three month period earlier this year. However, the recent high media coverage has led to a surge of activity in this area, with fraudsters contacting taxpayers by telephone as well as by email.
If you receive an email about a tax refund that appears to have been sent by HMRC or one of the major banks you should treat it with suspicion, no matter how convincing it may seem.
If you receive a phone call from the ‘taxman’ informing you of a tax rebate and asking for bank details you should not give any information to the caller.
HMRC always notify taxpayers of tax refunds due in writing by post.
Emails from your bank are unlikely to provide details of amounts and you would never be advised of a repayment from HMRC by your bank.
Examples of known HMRC related phishing emails can be obtained from the HMRC website at https://www.hmrc.gov.uk/security/examples.htm