TAX REFUNDS can sometimes mean a windfall of cash, however members of the public are being warned to be vigilant when contacted on the matter. It comes as HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has warned that some people are being targeted by scammers with offers of fake tax refunds

Since the end of December 2019, HMRC has seen the emergence of email scams targeting a number of UK universities.

These include Cambridge, Heriot Watt, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, St Andrews, Plymouth and Wolverhampton.

In the scam emails, the fraudster posing as HMRC says the student is owed money, and asks them to enter their details on a website in order to get the refund.

A spokesperson for HMRC said: “Fraudsters can use a range of methods to target students, most commonly by sending fake tax refunds to students’ university email addresses.

“Depending on the details a criminal is able to obtain from a student, they could steal money, set up direct debits, make purchases for valuable goods on online sites or even take control of their computer – being able to access functions such as their webcam.

“HMRC will never tell taxpayers about a tax refund by asking them to click on a link. One way to safely claim a refund is to log into your personal tax account.”

HMRC issued the following advice:

  • Genuine organisations like banks and HMRC will never contact you out of the blue to ask for your Pin, password or bank details
  • Do not give out private information, reply to text messages, download attachments or click on links in emails you were not expecting
  • Forward suspect emails claiming to be from HMRC to and texts to 60599
  • Check for information on how to avoid and report scams and to recognise genuine HMRC contact
  • If you think you have received an HMRC-related phishing or bogus email or text message, you can check it against examples published on
  • Contact your bank immediately if you believe you have submitted card details to a scammer and report to Action Fraud if you suffer financial loss