Fake HMRC VAT Return Submission Emails Still Making the Rounds

Fake HMRC notifications hide malware

Users in the United Kingdom should be on the lookout for fake VAT return emails that purport to come from HMRC.

The emails carry the subject line “Successful Receipt of Online Submission for Reference 3608005,” and they’re designed to distribute a piece of malware.

The messages read:

“Thank you for sending your VAT Return online. The submission for reference 3608005 was successfully received on Thu, 6 Feb 2014 20:32:34 +0100 and is being processed. Make VAT Returns is just one of the many online services we offer that can save you time and paperwork. For the latest information on your VAT Return please open attached report.”

The file attached to these emails, Reference.zip, contains a malicious file that appears to be a screensaver, Dynamoo’s Blog reports. Currently, only 7 antivirus engines from VirusTotal recognize the threat.

HMRC is aware of these emails. The organization has published an alert and included this sample on its “phishing examples” page.


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