DVLA Tax Scams: A RIFT Reality Check
09th October 2020
We’re all learning to be a little wiser about scams these days, online or off. At RIFT, we’re all about putting money back into your pocket that never should’ve left it. Most of the time, that means clawing back overpaid tax from HMRC. However, there are plenty of other ways of having your wallet wrongly pried open. At least the taxman never sets out deliberately to rip you off. There are plenty more who do, though – and you’ll never get a refund out of a scam artist.
When it comes to tax refunds, there are unscrupulous types who are more than happy to jump on the bandwagon of what we do at RIFT. Tax refunds are a mystery to most, and it takes a serious expert to understand the rules around them. That’s what these scammers rely on. They try to talk like they’re tax professionals, but they really aren’t. All they want is your cash and your personal information, and they’ll say and do whatever they can to get them out of you.
Worse still, even knowing that there are tax scammers out there gives refund claims a bad name, and puts many people off claiming back what they’re legally owed. That makes our job at RIFT much harder, which is why we do so much to keep you and your money protected.
Vehicle Tax Refund Scams
One especially nasty trap the scam merchants are springing these days is the DVLA tax con. They generally attack you with it via text message, and it goes like this:
- The bait: you get a message, supposedly from the DVLA, saying that they've crunched the numbers and decided you're owed a £50 vehicle tax refund.
- The trap: there's a so-called “secure link” at the end of the message. You just have to click it to claim your refund cash.
- The damage: before you know it, they’ve got you handing over personal information and banking details for immediate abuse. Not only does your “refund” never materialise, but you've turned over the keys to your accounts to a criminal as well!
To be fair to the DVLA, they’re doing what they can to blunt the teeth of this type of con. When people started asking questions, they were quick to put out an official response. Let’s be clear about this, there’s absolutely no way the real DVLA would ever approach you via SMS like this. As a matter of fact, they wouldn’t even risk using email to get your personal information.
To spell it out, the only way you’ll ever get legitimately contacted by the DVLA about a tax refund is through the post.
Even if the email address or phone number looks authentic, you’re definitely been strung along by a scammer. Those kinds of details are ridiculously easy to fake if you know what you’re doing.
Even if the fact that you’re getting dodgy DVLA text messages hasn’t already tipped you off, there are still some obvious red flags that you need to watch out for. For instance, asking for payment details or other personal information is a huge warning - even if they say you have to follow a link to a web page to do it. Those web pages can be every bit as fake as the texts.
DVLA Tax Refund Scams
Let’s say you get a suspicious message or email about your DVLA tax refund. What do you do about it?
- First and foremost: don't click that link! We cannot stress that enough.
- Make a report to Action Fraud (https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud).
- Finally, don't let fear of scammers keep you from claiming back your cash the right way.
That last point is so important. A con artist doesn’t need to steal your money to do you some serious damage. Worrying about getting ripped off is generally a good thing, but missing out on the refunds you should be claiming definitely isn’t.
Rip-off merchants are counting on you knowing that tax refunds are real, but not understanding the system for claiming them. The more they get exposed as frauds, the more difficult it is to know who to trust. That leads to far too many people leaving their heard-earned cash in the taxman’s pockets each year.
Examples of car tax refund scams
Here's an few examples of text or email scams claiming to be from the DVLA
There’s never a good reason to miss out on your tax refunds, but you’ve got to make your claims the right way. RIFT has over 2 decades of experience and the expertise to get back everything you’re owed. Better yet, as the UK’s leading tax specialists, we’re on great terms with HMRC and always keep you in the taxman’s good books. That’s how we protect your money – and you.
Stay safe out there, keep an eye out for scammers and remember to talk to RIFT about getting your tax refunds done right.