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Email scam from the taxman – and the DVLA

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Here’s a surprise. Another week, another two scams. The first is a text message urging me to phone the DVLA as a matter of urgency: yeah, right. The second claimed to be from HMRC. Headed ‘pending tax repayment’ it said in rather clunky English than I was ‘eligible to receive a tax refund of 283.48 GBP. Tax refund requests have limited time and (sic) is very important to resolve your claim as soon as possible’. It tells me to create a government gateway account and gives me three days to do it. A quick check on Google will point to many stories about this particular phishing scam – one man who did what he was told apparently had his account emptied. Search the gov.uk website and you can find a whole document on how and when HMRC will contact you – and surprise, surprise, it will never email you to offer a tax refund or repayment. And the DVLA scam is similarly a hot topic online. Of course the DVLA won’t contact you by text but I imagine that plenty of drivers fall for it, scared at ignoring an ‘official’ notice as will taxpayers targeted by the HMRC scam. It’s in our nature to jump to attention if approached by those claiming to be in authority.
I am getting a little fed up with these phishers. Oddly, the fraudsters who used to phone my landline at least twice a day claiming there was a problem with my computer have shut up. But these latest phishers have made so suspicious that I am cautious about shopping or other transactions online – unsurprisingly after last month’s fun when my bank account was attacked by fraudsters. Yet having spent an annoying half hour in the company of a phone shop ‘assistant’ yesterday who obviously thought anyone not buying a £700 phone wasn’t worth his bother and certainly wasn’t worth even making eye contact with makes me yearn for the internet. At least my computer is blind to my looks, age and sex. It might offer me up as a potential victim to fraudsters but at least it doesn’t sneer at me.

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Monday, 22 April 2019