Tax scams are targeting university students

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has alerted universities to a fresh wave of tax scams targeting students, so we want to make you aware of this and other potential cyber crimes.

With an increase in remote working due to the pandemic, students could be increasingly exposed to the work of fraudsters. We recommend being particularly vigilant if you’re contacted either by email or phone relating to tax refunds from HMRC.

In August this year, HMRC received reports of more than 74,800 scam emails, text messages and phone calls. Almost 41,300 of these specifically offered bogus tax rebates. These scams often offer fake tax refunds or help with claiming Covid-related financial support.


Phishing email messages can also provide a gateway for criminals. Students who respond with personal details can end up inadvertently giving access to important accounts, such as their email or online banking, leaving scammers free to commit fraud.

Criminals also use phone scams to threaten taxpayers into handing over cash. Some 651,600 scams have been referred to HMRC since August last year. Of those, more than 215,660 were voice or phone scams, known as vishing.

If someone calls, emails or texts you claiming to be from HMRC and asks for your bank details so you can claim financial help, receive a tax refund, or because you owe tax, then please be aware this could be a scam.

Please check the website on how to recognise genuine HMRC contact.

Posted on Friday 6 November 2020

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