The HMRC has warned of a surge in tax refund scam texts asking you to handover bank details. The Government department processes tax rebates in April and May and could lead many to believe the fraud messages are real. But taxpayers have now been warned this is not the case and the messages are a scam.
The surge in scam texts at this time of year is not a new thing, because it’s when HMRC processes rebates.
Last spring some 2,500 fraud message were send out everyday, adding up to 250,000 in total.
The HMRC are now worried for especially younger taxpayers as they might have less experience with how the tax system works.
Earlier this month one victim, John, told the BBC he believed he was due a tax refund after he received a text from “InfoHM”.
He said: “I was bleary-eyed from waking up early.
”The excitement of what my tax refund would be overwhelmed my normally pretty rational brain.”
John, who did not wish to use his real name in the interview, said he followed the online instructions and provided personal and bank account details to the online fraudsters.
He said he is now “cringing” over falling for it but said the website he was directed to was “the spitting image” of a gov.uk site.
After entering his date of birth and national insurance number the page informed him he was due a rebate of £462.
John also ended up providing other information including bank details and his mother’s maiden name.
He told BBC: “I didn’t even think twice about giving out this information to this website.
“They just have to catch you off guard. If I’d have got the text yesterday at 11.30am after a good night’s sleep, I’d have been like: ‘This is clearly a scam’.”
Does HMRC send you a text for tax rebate?
The HMRC has confirmed it never requests bank details by text or phone and is shutting down hundreds of sites a week associated with these schemes.
Head of customer services at HMRC, Angela MacDonald said: ”We are determined to protect honest people from these fraudsters who will stop at nothing to make their phishing scams appear legitimate.
“If you receive one of these emails or texts, don’t respond and report it to HMRC so that more online criminals are stopped in their tracks.”
Scammers also use phone calls, voicemails and emails, which may contain computer viruses designed to copy personal or financial information.