I had an interesting e-mail today, it claimed to be from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and read as follows:
From: HM Revenue & Customs <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Tax Refund Notification
Date: Sat, 7 May 2011 16:19:58 +0100
Tax Refund Notification
After the last annual calculation of your fiscal activity, we have determined that you are eligible to receive a tax refund of 973.90 GBP. Please submit the refund request and allow 5-7 days for processing. Click Here To Claim Your Refund
HM Revenue & Customs
It looks almost real but something about it just didn’t feel right. For one thing, the address looked wrong, having been a civil servant (I used to work for the Forestry Commission) I knew that all UK Government e-mails are name@[department].gsi.gov.uk, this wasn’t from inwith the Government Secure Intranet (GSI). Then there was the fact that it was to “undisclosed-recipients”, tax calculations are personal, this suggest that has been sent to multiple people. Thirdly, it wasn’t sent to the e-mail address I use to communicate with the Inland Revenue. So I did a wee bit of digging around and sure enough I soon found that it is a scam.
If you have also received one of these e-mails, first off do not click on the link and don’t give any of you details. Secondly, forward it with the full headers to HMRC (see here for details) and help them catch the scammers, it is in interest of all of us to stop this sort of thing!
I have since been told by HMRC that it “does not use email to contact people about being eligible for a repayment or to ask personal information or payment”. So any e-mail telling you that HM Revenue & Customs is offering you a tax refund it is a scam, don’t fall for it.