HMRC warns new QR code scam is circulating as criminals try to steal your personal details

QR code in HMRC tax scam alert and person looks worried at phone

HMRC is warning a new VAT email scam may encourage recipients to scan a QR code

Jessica Sheldon

By Jessica Sheldon

Published: 24/04/2024

- 09:22

Criminals are purporting to be from legitimate organisations such as HMRC in a bid to dupe scam victims

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has identified a new email scam as fraudsters develop new ways to try and scam innocent members of the public.

The tax department has warned the new VAT email scam may encourage recipients to scan a QR code.

They will subsequently be asked to submit personal details, but the email and the subsequent website it leads to is nothing to do with HMRC whatsoever.

Rather, it's criminals who are pretending to be from HMRC in order to try to dupe people.

In a post on social media, HMRC said: "HMRC will never ask you to submit personal information via a QR code.

"If you have received this email, do not engage, and report it to us using the link below."

HMRC VAT QR code tax scam alert on social media

HMRC posted a VAT QR code tax scam alert on social media


The alert proceeded to link to a website containing the email address

The Cyber Protect X account added: "HMRC will never send notifications of a tax rebate or ask you to disclose personal or payment information by email."

HMRC does use QR codes in letters and correspondence, but the QR code will usually take the recipient to guidance on

The taxman says recipients will be told if the QR code takes them anywhere else, and they will never be taken to a page where they have to input personal information.

HMRC says: "When you are logged into your HMRC account, we may use QR codes to redirect you.

"For example, to take you to your bank’s login page.

"If we’re using QR codes in communications you’ll be able to see them on the genuine HMRC contacts page."

Another way scammers try to steal personal and financial details is by promising a fake tax refund.

Fraudsters have been known to send text messages supposedly informing the recipient that they are owed hundreds of pounds in tax.

The message includes a website link, which is entirely fake and designed to harvest personal and financial information.


"We advise you not to open any links or reply to a text message claiming to be from HMRC that offers you a tax refund in exchange for personal or financial details," HMRC said.

HMRC does send text messages to some taxpayers, and this can include a link to information or to the HMRC webchat.

However, HMRC will not ask for personal or financial information when sending text messages.

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