HMRC Warns of Email Scams

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has warned that scammers are targeting university students with fake tax refunds in an effort to steal money and personal details. 

These emails may appear to come from legitimate University email addresses, ending in .ac.uk. They may also use the branding of GOV.UK or well-known credit cards in order to appear authentic. The recipient’s name and email address may be included several times within the email itself.

Fraudulent emails often contain links to websites where their information can be stolen.

Financial Secretary to the Treasury Mel Stride MP said "HMRC will never inform you about tax refunds by email, text or voicemail. If you receive one of these messages it is a scam. Do not click on any links in these messages, and forward them to HMRC’s phishing email address.

"Although HMRC is cracking down hard on internet scams, criminals will stop at nothing to steal personal information. I’d encourage all students to become phishing-aware - it could save you a lot of money.”

HMRC Phishing Advice:

  • recognise the signs - genuine organisations like banks and HMRC will never contact you out of the blue to ask for your PIN, password or bank details
  • stay safe - do not give out private information, reply to text messages, download attachments or click on links in emails you weren’t expecting
  • take action - forward suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC to phishing@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk and texts to 60599
  • If you suffer financial loss, contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use its online fraud reporting tool
  • check GOV.UK for information on how to avoid and report scams and recognise genuine HMRC contact

Pauline Smith, Director of Action Fraud, warns that "devious fraudsters will try every trick in the book to convince victims to hand over their personal information, often with devastating consequences. It is vital that students spot the signs of fraudulent emails to avoid falling victim by following HMRC’s advice".


First published: 19 November 2018