HMRC has issued guidance that gives examples of the latest techniques used by scammers, and you can find a link to this at the end of this article. Their main message is to remain vigilant and be alert to how HMRC operate so that scams can be identified and ignored immediately.
How HMRC communicate
The first thing to remember is that HMRC never send emails requesting personal information or advising of refunds. If you find a text message or 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, how large the ‘repayment’, delete the email straight away or send it to HMRC at email@example.com 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 never contact taxpayers by WhatsApp or telephone. If you are approached in either of these ways, again, it will not be them, so, delete or hang up.
Although HMRC do have a Twitter account, they will never use it to advise taxpayers 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 ones can quickly be identified for what they are.
This message is more important now than it has ever been before. Scammers are relying on more people being confused by the volume and speed the government are putting out information on COVID-19, and by linking their messages to the latest official information, more taxpayers are at risk of being unable to identify the bogus ones from the legitimate ones.
By being more aware of the things that HMRC never do, you are helping to protect yourself in these unsettled times.
View HMRC's full guidance here.