When is a tax refund not a tax refund? Answer: when it is a ‘phishing’ scam designed to part you from your hard-earned money.
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is warning of a new scam targeting tax credit claimants by email, claiming to be from HMRC. The email asks the recipient to open a “PDF report on your 2013 tax refund” but the attachment in question contains a Trojan virus and should not be opened under any circumstances.
A Trojan virus allows a third party to access your computer, including sensitive information such as bank details.
There are a number of warning signs to be aware of. The first is that the email comes from an address called ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ – note that the word ‘refund’ is misspelt to read ‘retund’.
The second is that HMRC will never send notifications of a tax rebate or ask customers to disclose personal or financial information by email – another common ploy used by fraudsters.
If in doubt, you should not open any attachments or click on any links in the email, but instead forward it on to HMRC at email@example.com, to enable HMRC to build a database of scams currently operating.
No one wants to pay more tax than they have to, so the offer of a tax refund will always sound appealing. These scams operate on the basis that people will click on links or open attachments without stopping to question their legitimacy.
At Milsted Langdon, we can advise you on whether you might be entitled to a tax refund and then help you obtain it. Through our sister IT consultancy business, we can also provide advice on issues of IT security and all clients are entitled to an IT/comms audit that is undertaken without charge or obligation and which almost invariably not only results in increased efficiency and stability of IT systems but also to genuine savings in costs. If such a review might be of interest, please contact us.