HM Revenue & Customs Outstanding Amount Email SPAM

Also Known As: TrickBot trojan
Type: Trojan
Distribution: Low
Damage level: Severe

HM Revenue & Customs Outstanding Amount virus removal guide

What is HM Revenue & Customs Outstanding Amount?

First discovered by My Online Security, "HM Revenue & Customs Outstanding Amount" is a spam campaign similar to You Have A Santander Secure Email. Cyber criminals employ this spam campaign to spread a trojan-type virus called TrickBot. The message states that the user has outstanding bills that have not been paid. To see all details, the victim is encouraged to open an email attachment (MS Office document). Once opened, however, the malicious attachment downloads and installs TrickBot malware.

HM Revenue & Customs Outstanding Amount malware

The email is presented as an invoice from HM Revenue and Customs department. It essentially states that thousands of pounds of taxes are outstanding and encourages the user to immediately open the attached file. This is a scam. HM Revenue and Customs is a genuine UK Government department responsible for the collection of taxes and has nothing to do with this message or proliferating the TrickBot trojan. Cyber criminals continually register various email addresses and domains that contain names of legitimate companies and institutions. This is done to trick gullible users into opening random email attachments and proliferate viruses. Developers use the "HM Revenue & Customs Outstanding Amount" spam campaign to proliferate TrickBot, a high-risk trojan that hijacks web browsers and collects various logins/passwords. Developers misuse recorded information to generate revenue (through identity theft, money transfers, and so on). Therefore, the presence of malware such as HM Revenue & Customs Outstanding Amount can lead to significant financial loss and serious privacy issues. Unfortunately, discovering this malware manually is virtually impossible - developers concealing it effectively. Despite this, most reputable anti-virus/anti-spyware suites are capable of detecting and removing the TrickBot trojan. If you have already opened the "HM Revenue & Customs Outstanding Amount" attachment, we strongly advise you to run a system scan and delete all detected threats.

Threat Summary:
NameTrickBot trojan
Threat TypeTrojan, Password stealing virus, Banking malware, Spyware
SymptomsTrojans are designed to stealthily infiltrate victim's computer and remain silent thus no particular symptoms are clearly visible on an infected machine.
Distribution methodsInfected email attachments, malicious online advertisements, social engineering, software cracks.
DamageStolen banking information, passwords, identity theft, victim's computer added to a botnet.
Malware Removal (Windows)

To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your computer with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Malwarebytes.
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TrickBot shares many similarities with a number of other trojan-type viruses. The list of examples includes (but it is not limited to) FormBook, Adwind and Pony. Research shows that these are also distributed using spam campaigns. As with TrickBot, the listed trojans are also designed to gather various sensitive information. In addition, trojans often track users' browsing activity and open "backdoors" for other high-risk viruses (for example, ransomware). This behavior poses a direct threat to your privacy and Internet browsing safety.

How did HM Revenue & Customs Outstanding Amount infect my computer?

"HM Revenue & Customs Outstanding Amount" spam emails contain malicious MS Office attachments presented as tax documents. After opening this attachment, users are immediately asked to enable macro commands. This allows the attachment to download and install malware (TrickBot). Note that this will only work when using MS Office. Malicious attachments opened using other applications (capable of reading these formats) will not be able to execute rogue commands. The downloaded malware only works on the Windows Operating System and, thus, users who are running other platforms are safe.

How to avoid installation of malware?

The main reasons for computer infections are lack of knowledge and careless behavior. The key to safety is caution. Therefore, pay close attention when browsing the Internet. Think twice before opening email attachments. Files that seem irrelevant or have been received from a suspicious/unrecognizable email addresses should never be opened - these emails should be deleted without reading. Be aware that 2010 and newer MS Office versions open downloaded documents in "Protected View", thereby preventing malware download/installation. Therefore, using older versions is dangerous. Some trojans are distributed using the "bundling" method (stealth installation of rogue apps with regular software), and fake software updaters. Therefore, be cautious when downloading, updating, and installing software. Select "Custom/Advanced" options, carefully analyze each download/installation step and opt-out of all additionally-included programs. We strongly recommend that you avoid using third party downloaders/installers, since developers monetize them by promoting PUPs. Software should be downloaded from official sources only, using direct download links. The same applies to software updates. Always keep installed applications up-to-date, but use implemented functions or tools provided by the official developer only. Having a legitimate anti-virus/anti-spyware suite installed and running is also paramount. If you have already opened the "HM Revenue & Customs Outstanding Amount" attachment, we recommend running a scan with Malwarebytes for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the "HM Revenue & Customs Outstanding Amount" email letter:

Subject: Important: Outstanding Amount
HM Revenue & Customs
Outstanding Amount £31,369.64
Date 26 June 2018
Our ref 2389890:00041273:002

You do not appear to have paid the full amount due as shown on the attached Statement of Liabilities.
Please follow this link for more details.
About this notice
If you agree the amount is due , then you need to pay in full now. Go to
It is possible that this E-mail has been received by you in error. If so, please note that it may contain confidential information, and we ask that you notify the author by replying to it, then delete it immediately, and take no further action as a result of receiving it. Although we take care by ensuring that any files attached to E-mails sent from our office have been checked with up-to-date virus detection software, you should carry out your own virus check before opening any attachment. We accept no liability for any loss or damage which may be caused by software viruses.
All content is available under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

Instant automatic malware removal: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Malwarebytes is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
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How to remove malware manually?

Manual malware removal is a complicated task - it is often best to allow antivirus or anti-malware programs do this automatically. To remove this malware, we recommend using Malwarebytes for Windows. If you wish to remove malware manually, the first step is to identify the name of the malware that you are trying to remove. Here is an example of a suspicious program running on a user's computer:

malicious process running on user's computer sample

If you have checked the list of programs running on your computer, for example using task manager and identified a program that seems suspicious, you should continue with these steps:

manual malware removal step 1 Download a program called Autoruns. This program shows auto-start applications, Registry, and file system locations:

screenshot of autoruns application

manual malware removal step 2Restart your computer into Safe Mode:

Windows XP and Windows 7 users: Start your computer in Safe Mode. Click Start, click Shut Down, click Restart, click OK. During your computer start process, press the F8 key on your keyboard multiple times until you see the Windows Advanced Option menu, and then select Safe Mode with Networking from the list.

Safe Mode with Networking

Video showing how to start Windows 7 in "Safe Mode with Networking":

Windows 8 users: Start Windows 8 is Safe Mode with Networking - Go to Windows 8 Start Screen, type Advanced, in the search results select Settings. Click Advanced startup options, in the opened "General PC Settings" window, select Advanced startup. Click the "Restart now" button. Your computer will now restart into the "Advanced Startup options menu". Click the "Troubleshoot" button, and then click the "Advanced options" button. In the advanced option screen, click "Startup settings". Click the "Restart" button. Your PC will restart into the Startup Settings screen. Press F5 to boot in Safe Mode with Networking.

Windows 8 Safe Mode with networking

Video showing how to start Windows 8 in "Safe Mode with Networking":

Windows 10 users: Click the Windows logo and select the Power icon. In the opened menu click "Restart" while holding "Shift" button on your keyboard. In the "choose an option" window click on the "Troubleshoot", next select "Advanced options". In the advanced options menu select "Startup Settings" and click on the "Restart" button. In the following window you should click the "F5" button on your keyboard. This will restart your operating system in safe mode with networking.

windows 10 safe mode with networking

Video showing how to start Windows 10 in "Safe Mode with Networking":


manual malware removal step 3Extract the downloaded archive and run the Autoruns.exe file.

extract and run autoruns.exe

manual malware removal step 4In the Autoruns application, click "Options" at the top and uncheck the "Hide Empty Locations" and "Hide Windows Entries" options. After this procedure, click the "Refresh" icon.

Click 'Options' at the top and uncheck 'Hide Empty Locations' and 'Hide Windows Entries' options

manual malware removal step 5Check the list provided by the Autoruns application and locate the malware file that you want to eliminate.

You should write down its full path and name. Note that some malware hides process names under legitimate Windows process names. At this stage, it is very important to avoid removing system files. After you locate the suspicious program you want to remove, right click your mouse over its name and choose "Delete"

locate the malware file you want to remove

After removing the malware through the Autoruns application (this ensures that the malware will not run automatically on the next system startup), you should search for the malware name on your computer. Make sure that you enable hidden files and folders before proceeding. If you find the malware file, remove it immediately.

searching for malware file on your computer

Reboot your computer in normal mode. Following these steps should help to remove any malware from your computer. Note that manual threat removal requires advanced computer skills, and you are advised to leave malware removal to antivirus and anti-malware programs. Note, however, that these steps might not work with advanced malware infections. As always it is better to avoid infection than attempting to remove malware afterwards. To keep your computer safe, install the latest operating system updates and use antivirus software.

To be sure your computer is free of malware infections, we recommend scanning it with Malwarebytes for Windows.

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About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

Tomas Meskauskas - expert security researcher, professional malware analyst.

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of over 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an author and editor for since 2010. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

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Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

QR Code
TrickBot trojan QR code
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