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Last updated: 22 Feb 2022
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HMRC issue guidance to avoid the latest scams

HMRC has issued guidance that gives examples of the latest techniques used by scammers. Here’s how you can remain vigilant and be alert to how HMRC operate so that scams can be identified immediately to avoid you suffering financial loss.

How HMRC communicate

It’s important to understand the various means by which HMRC are likely to communicate with you. The first thing to remember is that although HMRC may send emails in certain circumstances, they never send emails requesting personal information or advising of refunds. If you find an email in your inbox to this end, purporting to be from HMRC, it will not be from them. No matter how tempting the message or how large the ‘repayment’, delete the email straight away or send it to HMRC at phishing@hmrc.gov.uk and then delete it. If the email is opened by accident, do not click on any website links, open any attachments or reply to the email. 

Similarly, HMRC may contact you via text message to inform you of claims, or to remind you to submit Self-Assessment tax returns, but they will never ask for personal information and genuine texts from HMRC will not include links to any websites. 

It is also important to note that HMRC will never contact you by WhatsApp or telephone. If you are approached in either of these ways, it will not be them, so delete the message or hang up.

Although HMRC do have a Twitter account, they will never use it to ask you to contact them for repayments or to provide information. If you do have a Twitter account, the best way to protect yourself is to become familiar with HMRC’s Twitter account so that bogus Twitter accounts can quickly be identified for what they are.

In recent years, scammers have been relying on people being confused by the volume and speed with which the government have shared information on COVID-19 support and reliefs. By linking these scam messages to the latest official information, you’re more likely to be at risk of being unable to identify the bogus ones from the legitimate ones.

View HMRC's full guidance here.

About the author

Akin Coker

+44 (0)20 7556 1332
cokera@buzzacott.co.uk

How HMRC communicate

It’s important to understand the various means by which HMRC are likely to communicate with you. The first thing to remember is that although HMRC may send emails in certain circumstances, they never send emails requesting personal information or advising of refunds. If you find an email in your inbox to this end, purporting to be from HMRC, it will not be from them. No matter how tempting the message or how large the ‘repayment’, delete the email straight away or send it to HMRC at phishing@hmrc.gov.uk and then delete it. If the email is opened by accident, do not click on any website links, open any attachments or reply to the email. 

Similarly, HMRC may contact you via text message to inform you of claims, or to remind you to submit Self-Assessment tax returns, but they will never ask for personal information and genuine texts from HMRC will not include links to any websites. 

It is also important to note that HMRC will never contact you by WhatsApp or telephone. If you are approached in either of these ways, it will not be them, so delete the message or hang up.

Although HMRC do have a Twitter account, they will never use it to ask you to contact them for repayments or to provide information. If you do have a Twitter account, the best way to protect yourself is to become familiar with HMRC’s Twitter account so that bogus Twitter accounts can quickly be identified for what they are.

In recent years, scammers have been relying on people being confused by the volume and speed with which the government have shared information on COVID-19 support and reliefs. By linking these scam messages to the latest official information, you’re more likely to be at risk of being unable to identify the bogus ones from the legitimate ones.

View HMRC's full guidance here.

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