When you receive an email or text from ‘HMRC’, it can be very daunting. Is it the HMRC contacting you about your tax? Or is it some fraudster trying to fool you into passing over your sensitive information? It can be tough for some to identify the correspondence as authentic or not. So, how do you spot false communication?
The risks are substantial when it comes to phishing emails and texts. It’s too easy to fall for, especially if you are unable to recognise genuine communication from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). Con artists today have a great deal of software available to them. It’s easy to create an authentic looking email from ‘HMRC’, and it’s proving detrimental.
HMRC is closing in on these fraudulent individuals, and more importantly, they’re taking the time to educate people on spotting fraudulent contact.
Thousands of taxpayers are being fooled by criminals pretending to be HMRC. We hope this blog helps you to identify fake communications. Once you know what to look for, it’s easy to spot them.
Here are the 5 simplest ways to identify fraudulent correspondence:
This is probably the most difficult thing to spot. On every email there is a ‘from’ address, this can be changed to appear as if it is from HMRC, gov or even revenue. HMRC’s example of false email is ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’. Admittedly, it looks real. But remember, this is not the real ‘from’ address.
To identify the real address, you can either click on the email or hover over it and the real address will appear on the bottom right of your browser or in a box next to your mouse.
If you’re still unsure, HMRC advises, ‘do not open it. If you do open the email and you’re in doubt, do not click on any links or downloads.’
This is very easy to spot. Typically, in these emails or texts fraudsters will not use your name. It’s common for ‘Dear Sir/Madam’, ‘Dear customer’, ‘Dear (your email)’, or even just ‘Hello’ to greet you instead.
HMRC’s emails will usually begin with your name, along with information on reporting phishing emails.
Scammers draw you in by offering you incentive. But HMRC will not offer you a repayment, notify you of a tax rebate or ask you to provide personal information via email or text.
Many of the scam emails include a website link or an attachment. Ignore them and do not click or download them. The linked webpage will look genuine, but it will be designed for you to login; thus, stealing your information. Attachments may contain viruses to steal your personal information on your device.
These emails or texts rely on fear and quick action. They will give you a deadline to respond and act, the deadline being just a few days. Be wary of this, HMRC will not give you such tight deadlines, if any.
To find out more about recognising phishing emails, do go ahead and read the advice at GOV.UK.
If you have any questions, please get in touch by using either of the contact methods below:
Tel: 01204 328761