The scammers are targeting self-assessment taxpayers by email and phone, claiming they are entitled to tax refunds and asking for bank details to transfer the money. This has come just a few weeks after the self-assessment tax returns deadline on 31 January. The scam phishing emails are being sent from verio.net domain names which contain endless hashtags and demanding for bank information, addressed to ‘user HMRC taxpayer’.
Additionally, they cite a fabricated unique taxpayer reference number issued by the HMRC, a refund number, tax reference and transaction number. As well as a generated password to activate the refund.
Please note that this information is fake and it is vital not to open the attachment accompanying the email, which contains the virus but does not provide the necessary information about how to claim the refund.
The suspicious emails are a clear giveway, with a file name of Zero-Hour Auto Purge.
An example of the email content:
:##:-USER HMRC TAXPAYER.
:##:-You will find attached to this email a short guide document.
:##:-Please read this guide carefully
File password is 5599
:##:-Transaction reference is 31722 46326
:##:-Issuing Date: February-20 , 2019
Mobile phone scams
On the other hand, phone scammers are also targeting UK taxpayers by mobile phone. In this case, mobile users receive calls from a number which impersonates HMRC. The best advice we can give you is to never give out your private or personal information when receiving such calls, hang up immediately and call the HMRC helplines to check on any tax issues.
HMRC states that you will never get an email, phone call or text message from HMRC asking for your personal information, rebate or penalty.
As mentioned, genuine organisations such as HMRC and banks will never contact people randomly and ask for their passwords, PIN or bank details. HMRC does not offer tax refunds by email or phone or text messages. People are reminded not to give our personal/private information, download attachments or click on links in emails that they were not expecting.
To report any suspicious activity or potential scams:
• Forward suspicious emails which claim to be from HMRC to email@example.com and texts to 60599.