Refunds for overpaid property taxes pretending to come from HM Revenue & Customs <[email protected]> is an email pretending to come from HM Revenue & Customs

One of the major common subjects in a phishing attempt is Tax returns or refunds, where especially in UK, you need to submit your Tax Return online before 31st December each year.

This one wants your personal details and your bank details. Many of them are also designed to specifically steal your email, facebook and other social network log in details.

Please read our How to protect yourselves page for simple, sensible advice on how to avoid being infected by this sort of socially engineered malware.

The original email looks like this, and of course at this time of year ( or anytime of year) we all need a few extra pennies and the offer of a tax refund is always welcome. It will NEVER be a genuine email from HMRC so don’t ever fill in the html ( webpage) form that comes attached to the email. Some versions of this phish will have a link to a website that looks at first glance like the genuine HMRC website. That is also false.

Dear Customer,

After the last annual calculations of your fiscal activity we have discovered

that you are eligible to receive a tax refund of GBP 203.37.

Kindly complete the tax refund request and allow 1-3 working days to process it.

Please download the document attached to this email and confirm your tax refund.

A refund can be delayed for a variety of reasons.

For example:

* Submitting invalid records

* Applying after the deadline.

Yours sincerely,

The Team HM Revenue & Customs.

Please do not reply to this e-mail as this is only a notification. Mail sent to this address cannot be answered.

This particular email has a zip attachment that when unzipped has html webpage that asks you to fill in bank details. If you open the html attachment you see a webpage looking like this where they want your bank details, name and birth date. If you are unwise enough to fill in the details, your information will be sent to a phishing site at invisibly to you and you are sent to the genuine HMRC/ pages

All of these emails use Social engineering tricks to persuade you to open the attachments that come with the email. Whether it is a message saying “look at this picture of me I took last night” and it appears to come from a friend or is more targeted at somebody who regularly is likely to receive PDF attachments or Word .doc attachments or any other common file that you use every day. Or whether it is a straight forward attempt, like this one, to steal your personal, bank, credit card or email and social networking log in details.

Be very careful when unzipping them and make sure you have “show known file extensions enabled“, And then look carefully at the unzipped file. If it says .EXE then it is a problem and should not be run or opened.