At RIFT, we put a lot of effort into making sure people know about the tax refunds they're entitled to. Every year, the taxman ends up sitting on a £millions of other people's money. He'll give it back to anyone who can prove they're owed it, but a lot of people just never realise they can claim.

The trouble is, there are people out there who are keen to jump on the work we do spreading the news about tax refunds. They're after your cash and personal information, and can be pretty convincing. Even if they don't catch you out, just knowing that tax refund scammers are out there can make people nervous of claiming. That makes our job tougher, which is why we work so hard to protect you and your money.

How the DVLA text scam works

There's a particularly nasty scam going around at the moment via text message. Here's how it works:

  • You get a message from the DVLA saying that they've crunched the numbers and decided you're owed a £50 vehicle tax refund.
  • There's a so-called “secure link” at the end of the message. You click it to claim your refund cash.
  • Before you know it, you're turning over your personal information and banking details to a scammer. Not only is there no refund, but you've handed the keys to your accounts to a criminal stranger.

What have the DVLA done about the scam?

The DVLA, to their credit, have been pretty on the ball about this. When they were contacted to comment on these widespread text messages, they responded quickly.

There's absolutely no way they'd ever contact people about their refunds via text like this. In fact, they won't even do this kind of thing over email. The only way you'll ever hear from them about refunds is through the post. Remember: even if the email address or number looks authentic, you're being strung along. These things are pretty easy for scammers to fake.

How can I keep myself safe from the DVLA scam?

If the way you're being contacted doesn't already tip you off, there are other red flags to watch for. For instance, the DVLA will never ask you to confirm your payment or personal details like this. If you get a message demanding that kind of information, even if it sounds promising or threatening, you're being conned.

What to do if you get a bogus DVLA text or email

As with any other message you aren't sure about:

That last point is so important. The con artists are counting on people understanding that they can claim tax back, but not knowing how. However, the more they're exposed as frauds, the more people shy away from getting what they're owed at all. There's simply no good reason to leave your refund sitting on the taxman's table – but your claim needs to be done right.

At RIFT, we've got the expertise to claim tax rebates on your allowable expenses for work and travel. We keep you clear of the scammers and securely in HMRC's good books. Stay safe, and get in touch to put that money back where it belongs.