Received a message from HMRC saying you have a refund? It is a scam!

Published on 24 January 2019

There are only 8 days until the Self Assessment tax return deadline, so the last thing you need is to fall victim to online fraudsters claiming to be from HMRC. If you receive an email or text offering a tax refund from HMRC, DO NOT DO ANYTHING WITH IT. It is a scam! Watch our video on how to identify such a message and what to do next.

Special thanks: The LITRG would like to thank John Andrews (LITRG’s founder and former Chair) and his son Jim Andrews of Yojimbofilms for creating, producing and donating this video to us (which can also be found on our YouTube channel)

Phishing scams come in all shapes and sizes and it is often hard to work out what is a genuine email or text and what is fraudulent. Always remember to double check with HMRC before responding to any messages.

We have an example of what a typical repayment scam email looks like in our 2018 news item: HMRC refund notification? Don’t fall for it!

Usual signs of a scam email include:

  • Poor spelling or grammar
  • A call for urgent action – often text will be underlined, bold or in red
  • Lack of a specific greeting (the scammer will probably not know your name!)
  • Incorrect email addresses (Government emails take the format name@[department]

The main way you can tell it is a fake is simply because HMRC do not contact people via email or texts about tax refunds. Ever.

Watch out for text messages as well. Remember to always double check with HMRC directly via GOV.UK. If you do receive a suspicious text message then forward to 60599 (charges apply). Phishing emails can be sent to: phishing [at]

Remember: Never give out your personal details via email

More information on the various scams to look out for and links to advice on online safety can be found on our page ‘Protecting yourself online’.


Contact: Victoria Todd (please use our Contact Us form) or follow us on Twitter: @LITRGNews