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Recognising genuine contact from HMRC

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DEC 2016

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As HMRC moves more of its services online, fraudsters are exploiting this transition by targeting taxpayers with bogus or fake emails.  HMRC has released updated guidance on how to recognise genuine contact from its agents.

HMRC will never send notifications of a tax rebate by email, nor will it ask you to disclose personal or payment information via email. There are some occasions when the Revenue will make digital contact. Some examples include:

  • Trade statistics import/export data emails
  • Employer Bulletin emails
  • Tax credits letters from Concentrix
  • VAT Mini One Stop Shop (MOSS) emails
  • Agents online self-serve email invitations
  • PAYE notices and reminders
  • Educational emails
  • Debt management and banking text messages
  • VAT emails including VAT returns, VAT registration and VAT debt reminders
  • Annual Tax Summary email alerts.

Phishing emails often appear very convincing, but there are a number of signs which can help you to determine whether an email is fraudulent.  A fraudulent email is likely to have an incorrect ‘From’ address. The sender’s email address will often be very similar to a genuine HMRC address, for example the plausible refunds@hmrc.gov.uk, in order to mislead the recipient. Common greetings such as ‘Dear Customer’ may signify that the email is bogus.

Links and attachments pose another potential threat. Phishing emails will often include a link to a webpage replicating those on the HMRC site. Although the page appears genuine, it may display fields requesting personal information or bank account details. You should also exercise caution when it comes to attachments in an email, as these may contain viruses designed to steal confidential information from your computer.

By remaining vigilant it is possible to minimise the risk of falling victim to phishing scams.

Registered office: 61 Friar Gate, Derby, Derbyshire, DE1 1DJ   T: 01332 202660

Adrian Mooy & Co is the trading name of Adrian Mooy & Co Ltd.  Registered in England No. 05770414

Registered to carry out audit work by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants - auditregister.org.uk 8011438

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