Her Majesty goes phishing

My spam filters tend to grab most of the phishing scam emails doing the rounds (especially those purportedly from Paypal, Ebay or the high street banks) so I never see them. The ones I do see, therefore, have to be unusual and/or clever, meaning that they’re probably the ones that people are more likely to fall for.

So, for those of you who are self-employed, watch out for a fake tax rebate from HMRC. I tend to read unsolicited email with a healthy cynicism, so I consider myself pretty phish-proof, but as I read this…

Inland Revenue Tax Refund – You receive a tax refund of GBP 97.43
HM Reference: 00-47-9302354
Refund ID: 95863474302
Refund amount: £97.43

Please submit the tax refund request and allow us 6-9 days in order to process it.

PLEASE NOTE: It is your legal responsibility to get any overpaid tax back from HM Revenue and Customs.

You have 48 hours to complete your tax refund form and send it back to us as a reply to this email.

… I almost, almost found myself on the point of dumbly complying. Part of it was the fact that HMRC change some of their procedures from time to time, so my initial surprise (at an email request to claim a tax rebate) was tempered by the assumption that it must be part of their gradual online development.

I soon realised not only that the reply-to address (@hmrc.gov.co.uk) was wrong, but also that my online dealings with Brenda tend to go through my non-Gmail address. And although I can’t claim to know my tax reference number off by heart, I can recognise it when I see it, and there’s no sign of it in that email. Still, it pays to be vigilant!

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2 Responses to Her Majesty goes phishing

  1. Ross says:

    Not to mention that tax rebates seem amazingly thin on the ground :-(

    I think I’ve only ever had one rebate cheque – they normally prefer to just increase your threshold in the coming month(s).

  2. adrian says:

    Yeah, I think I had a cheque from them quite early on, but every time since, it’s just come as a reduction in my next bill. Which is fine, but I’d rather have the cash and earn some interest on it!

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