If it's too good to be true...

… then it almost certainly is.

Recently I received an email purporting to be from HMRC informing me that I was due an income tax refund, which I could access if I clicked on a link.

The email is reproduced below. It is at first glance quite convincing.The use of the HMRC logo and the official language will  convince some people that it is genuine, but the email address it came from, which definitely was not an ‘@hmrc.gov.uk’ address, and the fact that they were emailing me about it suggested that this was a fake. So I declined their kind offer.

This is just the latest in a recent barrage of phishing emails that I have received at work. Often they are easy to spot as scams as they refer to accounts I do not have with banks I’ve never used or retailers or payment methods I’ve also never used.

Others are from people wishing to move huge sums of money (usually in US$) around the world and looking to use my bank account to do so for a large consideration.

Recently I have received several emails with a novel twist, purporting to be from people wishing to donate very large sums to the CAB, which is a charity. I might believe them were it not for the size of the donations which have been so large as to be implausible and the fact they usually come from abroad, where our work is virtually unknown. Reluctantly I have declined these offers too. (Please don't let that put anyone off genuinely donating money, just don't include us in a bulk mailing).

I’ve not been caught but there are plenty of people who do fall for such scams, otherwise why would the scammers continue to send them? Many that use bank logos or purport to be from government departments can be convincing and look official. They are in many ways the most pernicious.

July was scam awareness month and this recent well-timed rush of traffic into my inbox only serves to emphasise the need for such initiatives. If by publicising such dodgy practices we can prevent even one or two people being conned out of large sums of money that makes it worthwhile.

Remember: banks will never ask for your account details, passwords or security numbers online so don't give them out. HMRC will never notify you of a tax rebate by email or ask for personal or financial details.  If you get a suspicious email from HMRC or are in any doubt check at:


where there is advice on what to look out for and what to do if you receive a dodgy email.

 p.s. I thought I wouldn’t just delete the HMRC email but send it to the real HMRC so they could address the issue. They even have an email address to contact them with such details phishing@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk. I forwarded them the email … twice. Both times it bounced back as undeliverable having been caught in HMRC’s spam filter. Oh the irony.


The email in question: 


After the last calculation of your fiscal activity, we have determined that you are eligible to receive a refund of 220.90 GBP.

You must complete your form, and allow 3-5
working days to process it .

Click here to complete your form


Please do not reply to this email. We are unable to respond to inquiries sent to this address. For immediate answers to your questions, visit our Help Center by clicking "Help" located on HM Revenue page or email. 

Copyright 2016 HM Revenue , Inc. All rights reserved.











This entry was posted on August 1, 2016

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