Fraudsters are taking advantage of the end of the ‘tax return season’.
Although the personal tax return filing deadline has come to an end, there has been a steady increase in the number of scam emails and SMS-messages promising tax rebates.
Fraudsters are trying to trick people into disclosing their account and personal details by distributing phishing campaigns pretending to be from HMRC.
A phishing campaign is when fraudsters ‘fish’ for victims by sending urgent messages via emails, text messages, phone calls and social media.
How to protect yourself*
- Don’t click on links, or open any attachments.
- Always install software updates as soon as they’re available.
- Install anti-virus software on your computer and mobile devices, and keep it updated. Create regular backups of your important files to an external hard drive, memory stick or online storage provider.
- If you have clicked on the links, run antivirus software.
- Fraudsters ‘spoof’ an email address to make it look like one used by someone you trust. Check the email header to identify the true source.
- Don’t assume anyone who has tried to contact you (via email/phone) is who they say they are.
- If you are asked to make a payment, log in to an online account or offered a deal, be cautious. Real banks never email you for passwords or any other sensitive information. If you get a call from someone who claims to be from your bank, don't give away any personal details.
- Make sure your spam filter is on your emails. If you find a suspicious email, mark it as spam and delete it to keep out similar emails in future.
- If in doubt, check it’s genuine by asking the company itself.
“HMRC will never send notifications of a tax rebate or ask you to disclose personal or payment information by email or text message,” said Peter Way-Rider, tax manager at Ellis & Co Chartered Accountants and Business Advisers.
Forward suspicious emails and details of suspicious phone calls to HMRC’s phishing team: email@example.com
Forward suspicious text messages to 60599, text messages charged at your network rate.