I received a scam email supposedly from HM Revenue & Customs offering me a refund of overpaid taxation. The immediate giveaway is that I was not named and no tax reference number was provided. HMR&C never send emails announcing anything about tax to anyone, including refunds, but it knows my name and wouldn't have to use "Dear Applicant". A phoney tax refund number was given to make things look legitimate. (Not many people know their tax reference number.) The scammer sent the email because it is very cheap to buy tens of thousands or even millions of email addresses and send the email to all of them. If only a tiny proportion of non-web-savvy taxpayers submit a form containing the correct information, it is, as you will know, having read this article, well worth the scammer's while.
Here is the text of the message:
TAX RETURN FOR THE YEAR 2012
RECALCULATION OF YOUR TAX REFUND
LOCAL OFFICE No. 3819
TAX CREDIT OFFICER: Kathy Donnelly
TAX REFUND ID NUMBER: 381716209
REFUND AMOUNT: 244.79 GBP
The contents of this email and any attachments are confidential and as
applicable, copyright in these is reserved to HM Revenue & Customs.
Unless expressly authorised by us, any further dissemination or
distribution of this email or its attachments is prohibited.
If you are not the intended recipient of this email, please reply to
inform us that you have received this email in error and then delete it
without retaining any copy.
I am sending this email to announce: After the last annual calculation of
your fiscal activity we have determined that you are eligible to receive a
tax refund of 244.79 GBP
You have attached the tax return form with the TAX REFUND NUMBER ID: 381716219,
complete the tax return form attached to this message.
After completing the form, please submit the form by clicking the SUBMIT
button on form and allow us 5-9 business days in order to process it.
Our head office address can be found on our web site at HM Revenue & Customs: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk
[The real HM Revenue & Customs website]
HMRC Tax Credit Office
TAX REFUND ID: UK681716209-HMRC
© Copyright 2012. HM Revenue & Customs UK. All rights reserved.
The email came with a form to be filled in, attached as an .html file, which makes it in webpage format, placed inside a .zip file (a file with a .zip extension that Windows or an installed zip program can open).
Below are three images taken of the screen of my computer showing the contents of the form asking for name, address, phone number, date of birth, mother's maiden name, credit card number, name embossed on the card, its expiry date and the card's security number. I have not shown the form itself because it will work from this website. After you have filled the form in and click on its Submit button, you will only see the real HM Revenue & Customs website - http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/ - come up in your default web browser. It will have deposited your information on the criminal's website out of sight (without your knowledge) and then go to the real site in order not to make you suspicious and change your credit card and become wary knowing that you have provided all of that valuable personal information to criminals.
With that information, your credit card can be used and you can be phoned with someone using your real name to convince you that the call is genuine. All kinds of scams can come your way after you have provided that information to the cyber criminals. For example, online bank accounts often ask for your mother's maiden name as a security question online and on the phone. You can quickly find yourself in a world of extreme pain if you give away this kind of information. The scammer will also provide it to other scammers who will contact you. When people are taken in by one lottery scam sent through the post, they are inundated with scam lottery mail. Many old people have lost all of their life savings to these unscrupulous parasitic scumbags.
Here are examples of phishing scams on the real HM Revenue & Customs website:
Phishing examples (emails, letters, bogus callers, SMS text messages) -