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Alert: Watch out for fake HMRC and PayPal emails

31st March 2016

Action Fraud has received hundreds of reports from the public that have been sent fake emails from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and PayPal. 

HMRC “Tax Return Notification”

So far there have been over 150 reports from people who have received emails purporting to be from HMRC in the past couple of weeks. As the current tax year is coming to an end soon, we expect the public to receive even more of these scam emails.

Phishing emails that claim to be from HMRC often promise money back and if you click on a link, you are taken to a fake replica of the HMRC website. You will then be asked to provide credit or debit card details or other sensitive information such as passwords. The fraudsters then try to steal the money from your bank account. 

HMRC will never use texts or emails to:

  • Tell you about a tax rebate or penalty.
  • Ask for personal or payment information.

PayPal “Your PayPal account will be limited until we hear from you”

We receive reports of PayPal scams all the time but this version is interesting because it list activities which the account holder can and cannot do until they update their account. If you click on the “update my account” link you will be directed to a page designed to steal your personal information.  

PayPal will only ever ask you to enter personal details on the secure PayPal website, after you have safely logged in to your PayPal account.

Last year we received on average 8,000 phishing reports per month, with 96,699 people reporting that they had received a scam email; follow our protection advice to stay safe

To report a fraud and receive a police crime reference number, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use our online fraud reporting tool.

You can now also sign up for free to Action Fraud Alert to receive direct, verified, accurate information about scams and fraud in your area by email, recorded voice and text message.