Cyber criminals have launched a new phishing scam designed to steal personal and financial details of millions of self-employed workers using the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) during the Covid-19 outbreak. The scam, uncovered by litigation specialists Griffin Law, begins with a text message sent to self-employed workers offering a tax rebate purporting to be from HMRC.
The news comes following Chancellor Rishi Sunak announcing an extension of the scheme, which has so far seen 2.3 million claims worth £6.8 billion will be able to claim a second and final grant in August.
The text message informs the victim they are eligible for a tax refund and directs them to a site called https://hmrefund.com which then leads to an incredibly realistic copy of the HMRC government site.
A form on the site asks for the user’s email address, postcode and HMRC log-in details. The form calculates a fake refund amount, which in a test by Griffin Law experts totalled £217.17, a noticeable error in the scam was that the £ (pound sign) appears after, rather than before the amount. The next page reveals an online form asking key personal information from the victim, including their card number, name on card, account number, security code and expiry date.
Griffin Law estimates that around 100 self-employed workers have so far reported the scam to their accountants and business networks.