HMRC Scam Emails

3rd July 2019

Following several recent instances whereby clients have received a supposed email from HMRC or have been caught out having clicked on a link in such an email, we wanted to take the chance to provide clear guidance to our clients on HMRC scam emails.

Because businesses will always be sensitive to anything that appears to come from HMRC, hackers and cyber criminals will exploit this vulnerability in order to commit fraud, spread viruses or implant ransomware. In recent times, the quality of the emails being sent by those pretending to be HMRC has increased. The originators of these HMRC scam emails are using more tricks and masks to make the emails look ever more convincing and employing more scare tactics in a bid to entice more people to make the mistake of opening them or clicking on the links.

HMRC is very aware of the effort these criminals are going to and have therefore created a dedicated page on their website to help companies and individuals spot fakes and understand how and when HMRC will use email to communicate.

This link gives the latest actions and view on how to recognise HMRC scam emails.

We would strongly recommend that you view this page and bookmark it as it will be the source for any updates in the future and can act as a good reference site if you find yourself in any doubt having received any form of communication.

As a rule, we would always say:

  • If you are in any doubt, don’t open an email or click on any links unless you are 100% sure they are real
  • Never provide any security or reference details in full either via a web link or over the phone – typically HMRC (and banks) will only ask for random elements of a reference number or security detail
  • Contact us if you have had an unexpected bill, warning or penalty notice from HMRC that you were not expecting and we can investigate on your behalf. We will typically know whether the claim is real and relates to your affairs.
  • Hang up or stop entering any information if you are in anyway unsure – if it is genuine you will normally receive a follow up or you can investigate before making contact again
  • Check the recipient email – is it an email address that would normally receive communications from HMRC?

These phishing emails can come at huge cost if you make the mistake of being drawn into their traps and so please exercise extreme caution.

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