HMRC have issued guidance on understanding the difference between genuine Revenue contact and phishing emails.
Criminals use phishing emails to try to obtain taxpayers’ personal or financial information. HMRC stated that these emails often contain a link to a fake website, prompting individuals to enter their personal details. They also warned that criminals are able to make scam emails and texts look very realistic.
During 2019, HMRC received 614,483 reports of suspicious communications from members of the public.
Commenting on phishing emails, a spokesperson for HMRC said, ‘Scammers use a range of techniques, including phoning taxpayers and offering a bogus tax refund or threatening them with arrest if they don’t immediately pay tax owed.
‘If someone calls you claiming to be HMRC saying that you will be arrested, that we are filing a lawsuit against you or even that you are owed a tax refund, and asks for information such as your name, credit card or bank details, then it’s a scam.’
You can report something suspicious to HMRC’s phishing team, for example:
- a text message (forward it to 60599 – you’ll be charged at your network rate)
- an email (forward to firstname.lastname@example.org)
- details of a phone call asking for personal information or threatening a lawsuit
If you receive a suspicious phone call, you can help HMRC’s investigations by providing:
- your phone number
- the caller’s phone number
- the time and date of the call
- a brief description of the call
“Make sure you check the validity of each email you receive before you decide to give away any personal details. Follow HMRC’s advice to stay safe against these criminals.”Quote from Nigel Holland