HMRC Tax Refund Scam Steals Payment Card Numbers and Personal Information
An HMRC tax refund scam phishing email is circulating to trick British taxpayer into divulging sensitive personal data and Payment Card information. Both the phishing email and the fake UK government webpage linked from within the email are well designed and convincing. The phishing emails have been sent to 20,000 mailboxes via the Office 365 platform says a post from cyber security researchers at Abnormal Security.
In this tax scam, the phishing email claims the recipient is entitled to an income tax refund from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. The fraudulent email urges the reader to click on a link to claim it. They were sent on April 16th and the content claims that the last day to claim the tax refund is April 17th. Email Content contains fake details to make the email sound more convincing, increasing the chances the reader will follow the instructions to click on the cloaked link. The subject line GOV TAX REFUND also contains a fake reference number. The body of the email states the amount of the tax refund due to the recipient, a date, issuing number, and a transaction ID – all of it fabricated to trick the reader.
“Should recipients fall victim to this attack, attackers will have access to sensitive personal information, which can then be used to impersonate the victim and further compromise their accounts,” says Abnormal Security.
The email sender impersonates government employees and the link in the email is masked to conceal the real landing page URL. Clicking on the link in the email sends the victim to a spoof webpage that appears to belong to a UK government service office. The scam webpage which closely resembles the official HMRC website then prompts the victim to enter their personal information banking details in order to claim their supposed tax refund.
April 6th is the first day of the new tax year for UK citizens timed to make this HMRC Tax Refund Scam more convincing.
Read our post on how to spot a phishing email and learn to identify fake emails and fraudulent websites.
Signs of a Suspicious Email:
- An unsolicited email conveys a sense of urgency. IN this case the email states the user must claim their money by April 17. Furthermore, it also claims there are a limited number of refunds available.
- Look carefully at the sender’s email address. Phishing emails are usually closely name to a legitimate email address. It may take a keen eye to see the difference
- Do not click on link in unsolicited emails
- Be suspicious of any cloaked or shortened links sent in emails
- Never download an email attachment sent by someone you don’t know
- Always examine a website URL to make sure it is legate and the website you intended to be on. IN this case the hackers clocked the lin. But the final destination webpage was tanning website and obviously not a British government tax authority