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HM Revenue & CustomsĀ 'Unclaimed Refund' Phishing Scam

Outline
Email, purporting to be from the UK's HM Revenue & Customs, advises that the recipient is yet to claim a tax refund and should click a link to submit a tax refund request.  

Brief Analysis
The email is not from HM Revenue & Customs and the claim that the recipient can receive a refund is untrue. The message is a phishing scam designed to trick recipients into divulging their personal and financial information to Internet criminals. This is a long running scam. Similar scam messages claim to be from tax agencies in several other nations as well as the UK. If you receive one of these messages, do not click on any links or open any attachments that it may contain.


Example

Subject: Automated Tax Refund Notification
`
Unclaimed Tax Refund Notification
You are Receiving this Notification Because you are yet to claim your tax refund which has accrued up to 279.41 GBP,
This is the last and Final notice we will be sending regarding this issue. you are advised to respond Swiftly to this mail
so as to facilitate the process within 72hours of receiving the information Submitted.

On files dated 04/01/2013, The following Banks are processed within 48hrs of receiving your information due to the system link up.

Co-operative Bank Plc

Lloyds TSB Bank Plc

Nationwide Building Society

NatWest Bank

Santander Bank

other banks are required to allow up 72hrs.

You are require to Submit the tax refund request using the reference below

Refund Now

Please Note : If the Account provide is incorrect or inactive your refund would be forfeited and also

For Security reason we will record ( IP Address, Time and Date ) Deliberate wrong input will be criminally pursued

Yours Sincerely

HM Revenue & Customs

Reveune and Customers Unclaimed Refund Scam


Detailed Analysis
According to this email, which purports to be from UK tax agency HM Revenue & Customs, the recipient is yet to claim a tax refund that is owed to him or her. The message warns that no further notifications about the refund will be sent and urges the recipient to respond swiftly by clicking the "Refund Now" link.


The message is not from HM Revenue & Customs. The claim that the recipient can follow a link to receive a refund is a lie. The message is a phishing scam created to entice recipients into divulging their personal and financial information to online fraudsters. Those who follow the link will be taken to a bogus websites designed to closely mirror the genuine HM Revenue & Customs website. Once on the fake site, they will be asked to fill in an online form, ostensibly to allow their refund to be paid. The form will ask for extensive personal and financial information, including bank and credit card details.

Once they click the "submit" button on the fake form, all of their information will be sent to scammers who can then use it to commit bank and credit card fraud and identity theft.

HM Revenue & Customs will never send you a tax refund notification via an unsolicited email. "Tax Refund" phishing scams have been targeting taxpayers in several countries for years. Any email that claims that you can get an unexpected tax refund by clicking a link or opening an attachment is likely to be a scam.

Other versions of the scam:
HM Revenue & Customs Tax Refund Phishing Scam
Department of Finance Phishing Scam
IRS Refund Scam Email
Australian Tax Refund Scam Email
ATO Activity Statement Refund Phishing Scam
South African Revenue Service Tax Refund Phishing Scam
Indian Department of Revenue Tax Refund Scam

Last updated: June 17, 2013
First published: June 17, 2013
By Brett M. Christensen
About Hoax-Slayer

References
Phishing Scams - Anti-Phishing Information
Recognising and reporting phishing/bogus emails

© Brett M.Christensen, 2014. All Rights Reserved.

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