Scammers seize on tax rebates as phishing lure
Fraudsters have wasted no time jumping on news of a tax mix-up in the UK as a hook for scams.
Up to six million people in the UK had paid the wrong amount of tax as a result of HMRC mistakes with employee PAYE codes. Around 4.3 million are due for a refund while 1.4 million face demands* to hand over an average £1,428 each.
GFI Security has already intercepted scam emails informing prospective marks that they ought to apply for a refund by filling in a form on a fraudulent site that poses as an official Treasury site.
"The website asks for a comprehensive chunk of information including full name, address, DOB, phone number and mother’s maiden name," explains GFI security researcher Chris Boyd.
A blog post by GFI Security - containing a copy of the scam email and more details on the attempted con - can be found here. The offending website has been pulled offline but the possibility of copycat scams means surfers need to remain vigilant.
The widespread tax refunds represent a rich seam for miscreants to mine. Other possible tricks, judging from past evidence, could include using promises of a tax refund to make it more likely that scam emails with infected attachments will be opened. ®
*The length of time that has passed since the mistake occurs opens up the possibility for taxpayers to apply against having to pay a refund, as discussed in an article by the Guardian here. ®
Re When will these scammer's (sic), ever learn
Pot, meet kettle.
When will these scammer's, ever learn
The sample letter on the GFI security page is littered with punctuation errors such as missing full-stops, misplaced and missing commas. The letter begins "Dear Applicant" but the reader isn't an applicant yet.
And why would the UK tax office need use the abbreviation GBP to describe the "over [sic] payment"?
These people are giving HMRC a bad name.
I got the exact email
I received the exact same e-mail about 2 days ago. Same e-mail address, same tax rebate amount. Always funny when they send e-mails to hughjass@mydomain.