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Beware of the Taxman bearing gifts

Paystream News

David McManus

Thursday 29th Mar, 2012

You're opening up your emails one evening, after a hard day's work and there's one from HM Revenue & Customs telling you that you've got a tax repayment that they're just itching to send back to you. Sounds good, a bit unexpected but nevertheless welcome. Oh! Wait a moment they need you to do something first - give them details of your personal bank account so that they can make a direct payment into it. Ok you can do that, after all it is HMRC and they are pretty reliable and above board?


This is a scam. At first it looks OK but closer inspection and there are obvious signs that it's not from whom it purports to be:

  • HMRC will never ask you to provide confidential or personal financial details by email
  • Watch out for spelling and grammar mistakes
  • Be wary of emails pressing you for urgent or immediate action
  • The emails use expressions like 'fiscal', 'GBP' instead of £, 'refund' instead of 'repayment'
  • Emails not addressed to you personally but containing a common greeting like 'Dear Customer'

Generally be cautious about releasing any personal or financial information online without checking the bona fides of the person or organisation who requests it.

If you become the target of a bogus HMRC email scam you are encouraged to report it to them -just forward to this address:

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