Students – don’t be scammed

New to paying tax?

Criminals posing as HMRC may contact you offering a tax refund or to tell you your National Insurance number has been used in a fraud. Make sure you’re on your guard!

Identify tax scam phone calls, emails and text messages

Check what to look for first

HMRC suggest that you use the following to decide if the contact you’ve received is a scam. You can use it for phone calls, emails and text messages.

It could be a scam if it:

  • rushes you
  • is threatening
  • is unexpected
  • asks for personal information like bank details
  • tells you to transfer money
  • offers a refund, tax rebate or grant

For more help view examples of HMRC related phishing emails and bogus contact .

Check a list of genuine HMRC contact and campaigns to help you decide if the one you’ve received is genuine.

Report suspicious phone calls, emails or texts to HMRC.

Other signs to look out for

Suspicious phone calls

HMRC will never:

  • leave a voicemail threatening legal action
  • threaten arrest

View an example of a bogus phone call.

Text messages

HMRC does send text messages. In the text message they might include a link to GOV.UK information or to HMRC webchat.

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

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

To help fight phishing scams, send any suspicious text messages to 60599 (network charges apply) or email: then delete them.

WhatsApp messages

If you receive any communication through WhatsApp claiming to be from HMRC it’s a scam. Take a screenshot and forward it to HMRC as an email.

QR codes

HMRC uses QR codes in 2 different ways:

  • in letters and correspondence they sometimes use QR codes but only to take you to guidance on GOV.UK — they will not take you to a page where you have to input personal information
  • when you are logged into your HMRC account they might use QR codes to redirect you, for example to your bank login page

If we’re using QR codes in communications you’ll be able to see them on the genuine HMRC contacts page.

To help fight phishing scams, send any suspicious emails containing QR codes to then delete them.

Gift or payment vouchers

HMRC will never ask you to pay with gift or payment vouchers.

If you’ve already shared personal details

You can report a disclosure of personal information to the HMRC security team.

If you’ve been a victim of a scam and suffered financial loss, report it to Action Fraud or to Police Scotland by calling 101 if you live in Scotland.

PAYadvice.UK 12/10/2023

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