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Issue 115 - June 2011 - Page 16

HM Revenue & Customs Income Tax Repayment Phishing Scam

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Outline
Email, purporting to be from the UK's HM Revenue & Customs, claims that the recipient has paid too much income tax and should follow a link to arrange a refund.



Brief Analysis
The email is not from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). The message is a phishing scam designed to steal personal and financial information from recipients. The link in the email opens a bogus website designed to resemble the genuine HMRC website.

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Detailed analysis and references below example.



Last updated: 3rd May 2011
First published: 3rd May 2011
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer


Example
Subject: Your Income Tax Repayment

Income Tax repayment

An Income Tax repayment is a refund of tax that you've overpaid.
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has received new information about your taxable income you've overpaid too much tax through your job or pension in previous years. You might have overpaid tax if:

* your employer used the wrong tax code
* you started a new job and had an emergency tax code for a while
* you only worked for part of the year
* you had more than one job at the same time
* you didn't tell HMRC right away about changes to benefits you got through your work
* your circumstances changed - perhaps you were made redundant or became self employed and therefore your income reduced
* other income like investments or rental income reduced but you didn't tell HMRC
* you made a mistake on your tax return
* we made a mistake with your tax

All of these things and more can mean you paid too much tax.
HMRC will send you a repayment. You'll get the repayment either by cheque in the post or by bank transfer.

At the moment HMRC can refund your overpaid tax by bank transfer.

Please click on the link below to have your tax refund to your bank account, your tax refund will be sent to your bank account in due time. Take your time to go through the banks we have on our list, you will be provided with steps to follow .
[Link removed]

Best Regards Tax agents & advisers HM Revenue & Customs



Detailed Analysis
This email, which claims to be from UK tax agency HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), advises recipients that they have overpaid income tax and are therefore eligible for a refund. The message asks recipients to click a link to arrange for the refund to be payed directly into their bank accounts.

However, the email is certainly not from HMRC. In fact, the message is just one more in a long series of tax refund phishing scams that have targeted taxpayers all around the world. Those who fall for the ruse and click the link in the message will be taken to a bogus website designed to emulate a genuine HMRC website. To make it appear more convincing, the bogus site may include HMRC logos and formatting along with secondary links that point to the genuine HMRC site. Once on the fake website, victims will be asked to provide banking and credit card details via an online form, ostensibly to allow the refund to be transferred.

All information submitted on the bogus website will be collected by criminals and used for credit card fraud and identity theft.

HMRC will never send tax refund notifications via email. Nor will it ask taxpayers to disclose personal or financial information by following a link or opening an attachment in an unsolicited email. This is equally true of tax agencies in other nations. Be very cautious of emails or text messages that claim that you are eligible for a tax refund. If you receive such a message, do not follow any links it may contain. Do not open any attachments that may come with the message. Bogus tax refund messages are a tactic that has often and repeatedly been used by phishing scammers over several years.

For details on other versions of the scam, see:
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

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References
HMRC - Security advice
Phishing Scams - Anti-Phishing Information



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Issue 115 Start Menu

Pages in this month's issue:
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  12. Trees Cocooned in Spider Webs After Pakistan Floods
  13. ABSA Phishing Scam Emails
  14. Osama Bin Laden Virus Emails
  15. FBI 'You Visit Illegal Websites' Malware Email
  16. HM Revenue & Customs Income Tax Repayment Phishing Scam
  17. Facebook Virus Warning - BBC Video Of Bin Laden Killing
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