Updated guidance from HMRC on phishing and scam emails

First published on 24 September 2019 by Alastair
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We all get those annoying calls telling you that a) your money is at risk if you don’t transfer it, b) there is a problem with your computer, c) your WiFi is about to be cut off, d) you were involved in an accident, or e) some other form of obvious chicanery. 

Similarly, depending on the strength of your firewall, we can also get emails suggesting much the same things. And lots of us think we are savvy enough to see through these scams, yet the plain fact is that thousands are not, often with financially tragic consequences.

Fake emails from HMRC used to be fairly easy to spot. Often, they would contain a fairly obvious spelling error or some other typo. Other ways to spot such emails include looking at the sender’s address: often it’s clearly designed to look official but there are some obvious giveaways (not having a .gov.uk suffix for example). However, the criminals have been getting increasingly more sophisticated over the years, so HMRC’s recently updated guidance, published on 17th September, is, in our opinion, required reading. 

Essentially, as M&S has been saying for years on our email signatures (see screengrab below), HMRC will NEVER contact you by email regarding a tax payment or repayment.

M&S Accountancy & Taxation spam advice

This link to the updated advice will give you:

  • the current list of digital and other contacts issued from HMRC,
  • a note explaining how to tell if an email is fraudulent,
  • a note about HMRC text messages and, finally,
  • how to report HMRC-related phishing or bogus emails.

Do take a moment to read these: they could save you a lot of heartache – and a lot of money.  If you are in any doubt, please contact us and we’ll advise you.

Stewart McKinnon, Director, M&S Accountancy and Taxation Ltd.



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