HMRC Tax Refund Notification- Phishing


Tax Refund Notification is an email pretending to come from HM Revenue & Customs

One of the major common subjects in a phishing attempt is Tax returns, 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 credit card and 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.

This particular email has the entire content in an image and clicking anywhere on the image leads you to which in turn sends you on to

Both urls could easily be mistaken for genuine tax refund sites when you don’t take care and only look at the first part of the url & not the entire url.

If you follow the link you see a webpage looking like this where they want your email address, name and date of birth.

They then pretend to do a search based on your name and email. Then you get sent on to the nitty gritty where they want all your banking and credit information. This obviously was created by a non UK person because the UK uses post codes & not zip codes, which should be an immediate alarm bell to somebody getting this far

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.

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