UK Tax Return Phishing Text
It is not only email addresses that get phishing attacks, cell phones have become a favorite with cyber criminals as most people are unaware of the risks associated with opening links in texts. This new way of phishing attacks has seen a rise in popularity, especially in Britain where a new UK tax return phishing text has been making its rounds.
Recently cell phone users in the UK have been targeted by a phishing text that seems to be from the UK government. However with a little investigation, it becomes clear this could not be from an official government body.
Getting a text message from the government should always raise flags for ordinary citizens, it is very rare for the government to send personal text messages if they do text you, it should read as a mass text. Therefore the government telling this person specifically that they are owed money is a huge red flag that this could be a UK tax return phishing text and not authentic.
The theme of this email’s content is one of its strengths when it comes to tricking users into clicking on the link and entering in their details. Since it is about getting a tax return, many users will simply read through the message once, get excited about the possibility of free money, and just click the link without thinking.
The content, when read closely, is a bit strange; using awkward wording like ‘pending to proceed’ and using both the pound symbol (£) and GBP currency code, which is uncommon, especially for governments.
The text’s content should also raise eyebrows for anyone who receives it but didn’t fill out a P60 or isn’t expecting a refund that large. While it would be nice if the government were to give out free money, in most cases it’s a scam.
One of the most frustrating parts of identifying a scam text is the fact that users cannot hover over the link to see the actual destination. This leaves the user essentially blind to the dangers that may lie behind the shortened link.
The best step to take with links in texts is to just avoid them altogether, however if a user really wants to check where the link is going they can input the link into a short URL expander such as CheckShortURL, URL Expander, or GetLinkInfo. These websites will reveal the short URLs destination and allow users to ensure the link they are clicking is legitimate and safe.
The Landing Page
Once the user clicks on the link they are brought to a website that looks almost identical to the HM revenue & customs official site. From there the user is encouraged to click through and enter in their personal information, giving the attackers exactly what they wanted.
An important section to highlight in this fake landing page is the note asking users not to contact the revenue office for 4 to 6 weeks. By the time a user contacts the office, the scammer has had enough time to sell their information, empty their bank account, or complete some other cyber crime.
If you ever receive a text, email, or are on a landing page you have reservations about, always contact the person or organization directly to confirm its authenticity. As the old saying goes, it’s better to be safe than sorry.