HMRC Digital Services and Making Tax Digital updates and student scams

Aug 31, 2020

Read the latest Digital Services updates from HMRC for July and August 2020. The latest Agent MTD update is also available. See also HMRC’s recent communication on student scams.

HMRC has also set out some important advice for students on recent scams

  • “HMRC has warned students to be alert to a fresh wave of cyber frauds offering them bogus tax refunds.
  • The department would normally expect to see a small, regular flow of scam referrals from students but recently saw a sudden spike in students reporting suspected scams received at their official university email addresses.
  • HMRC’s experience shows that when new scams emerge targeting students at particular universities, they often multiply.
  • The department has therefore warned students to take a moment to think before parting with their personal information.
  • The scam emails say that the student is owed a tax refund and invite them to click on a link to ‘complete the required form’. They add: ‘If you do not complete the refund form now, you will not be able to claim your tax refund online.’
  • The criminals will then use the malicious link to harvest students’ personal data.
  • The emails include a scam warning, saying: ‘If you’re unsure an email is from HMRC do not reply to it or click on any links. Report the suspicious email to HMRC. To find out how go to GOV.UK and search for ‘Avoid and report internet scams and phishing’.’
  • HMRC’s Customer Protection Team has been alerted to this fraud by students, who have been receiving the emails at their official university @xxx.ac.uk email addresses.
  • HMRC has asked Internet Service Providers to take down malicious web pages associated with the scam and has alerted universities and the National Union of Students.
  • UK universities have been operating remotely, online, since the Covid-19 lockdown.

HMRC’s advice to students:

Stop:   

  • Take a moment to think before parting with your information or money.   
  • Don’t give out private information or reply to text messages, and don’t download attachments or click on links in texts or emails you weren’t expecting. 

Challenge:  

  • It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests - only criminals will try to rush or panic you.  
  • Search ‘scams’ on GOV.UK for information on how to recognise genuine HMRC contact and how to avoid and report scams.  

Protect:  

  • Forward suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC to phishing@hmrc.gov.uk and texts to 60599.   
  • Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen victim to a scam, and report it to Action Fraud.”