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Examples of HMRC related phishing emails, suspicious phone calls and texts

To help HMRC report all HMRC related phishing emails, suspicious phone calls and text messages.




Even if you get the same or similar scam contacts often, report them.


Do not open attachments or click any links in an email or text message, as they may contain malicious software or direct you to a misleading website.


Delete any emails or texts once you’ve reported them.


Email scams


HMRC is aware of a phishing campaign telling customers they are eligible to receive an employment income support scheme credit during the coronavirus pandemic.


Do not reply to the email and do not open any links in the message.


The email has been issued in various formats. This is an example of the scam:



Image showing an example of a scam email which is asking you to click on a hyperlink to claim an income support credit.


Text scams


‘COVID-19 refund’ SMS


HMRC is aware of various text scams offering a refund in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.


Do not reply to the text and do not open any links in the message.


Tax refund and rebate scams


Email addresses


HMRC will never send notifications by email about tax rebates or refunds.


Do not:

  • visit the website

  • open any attachments

  • disclose any personal or payment information

Fraudsters may spoof a genuine email address or change the ‘display name’ to make it appear genuine. If you are unsure, forward it to us and then delete it.



Example of a phishing email and misleading website



Image showing an example of a scam email with a hyperlink which directs you to a phishing website.


Text messages


HMRC will never ask for personal or financial information when we send text messages.

Do not reply if you get a text message claiming to be from HMRC offering you a tax refund in exchange for personal or financial details. Do not open any links in the message.


Send any phishing text messages to 60599 (network charges apply) or email phishing@hmrc.gov.uk then delete it.

Image showing an example of a scam HMRC text message which is trying to get you to click on a hyperlink and enter personal details.



Suspicious phone calls


HMRC is aware of an automated phone call scam which will tell you HMRC is filing a lawsuit against you, and to press 1 to speak to a caseworker to make a payment. We can confirm this is a scam and you should end the call immediately.


This scam has been widely reported and often targets elderly and vulnerable people.

Other scam calls may refer to National Insurance number fraud or offer a tax refund and request you to provide your bank or credit card information. If you cannot verify the identity of the caller, we recommend that you do not speak to them.


If you’ve been a victim of the scam and suffered financial loss, report it to Action Fraud.

The calls use a variety of phone numbers. To help us investigate, share call details on our suspicious phone call reporting form. Include the:

  • date of the call

  • phone number used

  • content of the call


WhatsApp messages


HMRC will never use ‘WhatsApp’ to contact customers about a tax refund. If you receive any communication through ‘WhatsApp’ saying it’s from HMRC, it is a scam. Email details of the message to phishing@hmrc.gov.uk then delete it.


Refund companies


HMRC is aware of companies that send emails or texts advertising their services. They offer to apply to HMRC for a tax rebate on your behalf, usually for a fee. These companies are not connected with HMRC in any way.


You should read the ‘small print’ and disclaimers before using their services.


HMRC customs duty scams


HMRC is aware of a text and email scam where the customer is told they must pay customs duty to receive a valuable parcel which does not exist.


These scams should not be confused with changes introduced on 1 January 2021, advising that some UK consumers buying goods from EU businesses might need to pay customs charges when their goods are delivered. Find out more about these new rules on GOV.UK.


If in doubt, we advise you not to reply to anything suspicious, but to contact HMRC straight away and read HMRC phishing and scams guidance.




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