Beware of HMRC Tax Refund Email

Phishing examples
(emails, letters, bogus callers, SMS text messages)

1. Tax rebate

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) will never send notifications of a tax rebate by email, or ask you to disclose personal or payment information by email.

Do not visit the website contained within the email or disclose any personal or payment information.

A selection of fake email addresses used to distribute the tax rebate emails can be seen below:


HMRC do not send emails using these email addresses.

Examples of the tax rebate phishing emails:

Example one (PDF 56K)
Example two (PDF 48K)
Example three (PDF 22K)

2. EU VAT registration letter scam

HMRC is aware of a new letter scam which is being issued to customers by post. This letter is requesting payment of a fixed fee via credit card. A website address is provided within the letter to activate the EU VAT registration. These letters are not issued by HMRC and the registration should not be completed.

Example – A letter requesting payment of a fixed fee via credit card (PDF 97K)

3. Requests made to customers for payment or personal information

HMRC is aware that customers have received emails requesting personal details or payment in exchange for:

  • lottery winnings
  • seized goods/packages (held by Customs and Excise)
  • certificates/bonds
  • inheritance payments

HMRC would not request payment or personal details via email.

Example – Phishing request for payment or personal information (PDF 11K)

If you receive any of these emails please forward them to the email address below, and then delete them.

4. Refund companies

HMRC is aware of companies who are issuing emails to advertise their services. These companies can apply to HMRC for a rebate of National Insurance/tax on the customer’s behalf, usually for a fee. These companies are not connected with HMRC in any way.

5. Bogus callers

HMRC has received reports of customers receiving telephone calls where the caller claimed to be from HMRC and asked them for their bank details so a tax refund can be made for a fee. HMRC will never ask you for a fee to provide any services including repayments of tax. If you cannot verify the identity of the caller HMRC recommend that you to report it to the police immediately.

HMRC has also received reports of bogus callers who visit people at their own homes offering tax refunds in exchange for a fee. HMRC would never contact you in such a manner and you should report this to the police.

6. SMS text messages

If you receive an SMS text message claiming to be from HMRC asking you to contact any number other than Tel 0845 300 3900 you should not respond. This warning only applies to any SMS text messages from HMRC. It does not apply to any messages left in person by HMRC officers asking you to ring them back at your local office.

Historical phishing emails

The following are descriptions of phishing emails that customers have already reported to HMRC and are fraudulent in their nature.


HMRC is aware that customers have received emails advising them to download an attachment to request a tax refund via PayPal. These emails are not from HMRC so do not download the attachment.

Example of an email offering a tax refund through PayPal (PDF 16K)

HMRC is aware that customers have also received emails from The email states HMRC is making extra security checks and asks that you confirm your bank details. Do not click on the links. The email is not from HMRC.

Compensation claim

This scam is aimed at people who have supposedly already been the subject of fraudulent activity. The email requests personal details on the pretext that compensation will be paid.

Example of the compensation email (PDF 32K)

Export Clearance Process (Delivery Stop Order)

A number of emails state that a parcel containing a cheque in respect of lottery winnings, or a legacy left in a will, has been held up by customs at an airport or dock and requires payment of a percentage of the cheque.

Example of the Export Clearance Process (Delivery Stop Order) (PDF 92K)

Lottery winnings

Emails requesting tax payments are required to release funds won on a foreign lottery.

Example of the Stop Order (PDF 92K)