French tax refund scam being circulated by email

The email - seemingly sent by French tax authorities - is a scam to obtain bank details, timed to coincide with summer tax refunds in France. 

11 August 2020
A woman on her laptop sitting cross legged on bed. A French tax refund scam is being circulated by email.Tax refunds are either made automatically to a bank account already known by the tax authorities or sent by cheque to a known address.
By Joanna York

The opening of the message being sent to personal email addresses reads “Bonjour, après les dernier calculs de l'exercice de votre activité, nous avons déterminé que vous êtes admissible à recevoir de notre part d’un montant de...” 

(Hello, our latest calculations of your professional activity show that you are eligible to receive a refund amounting to…)

This is followed by a link leading to a web page that resembles the official French tax site (www.impots.gouv.fr), on which the recipient is asked to give their name, date of birth, card details, and a personal password.

The scam has been timed to coincide with the arrival of avis d’impots (tax notices) in France. Tax notices inform those who have declared their income of whether they have remaining taxes to pay, or are eligible for a tax refund. 

In France, declarations of income are made in June online, by post or – from 2020 - automatically. This year, tax notices have been sent by post or made available online on the government tax website from July 31 onwards. 

However, the official French tax website states that tax refunds are always either made automatically to a bank account already known by the tax authorities, or sent by cheque to a known address. 

No one eligible for a refund will ever be asked to enter their bank details or other personal information online. 

In a tweet addressing email scams, tax authority Finance Publique advised anyone wishing to carry out tax transactions online do so through their personal space on the www.impots.gouv.fr website.

Anyone who receives the email described above, or any message concerning taxes that they find suspicious, is advised to report it to their nearest public finance office online or by telephone on 0809 401 401.

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