phishing emails

Worried about Fake HMRC Emails?

9 February 2015

At the time of year if you receive an email from HMRC you may panic that you owe tax or if it says you are owed a refund then you may be keen to respond in order to receive it. At the end of the day you don’t want to ignore a valid email for fear of being fined or missing out on a tax refund you may be due.

The problem is that some of the most popular phishing emails are disguised as being from HMRC.

A phishing email is designed so that you respond with confidential personal information that may be used to extract money from your accounts or to set-up up fake accounts in your name.Some may redicrect you to a website made to look like HMRC’s (all Government websites are now www.gov.uk/)

So that you can easily spot whether an email is legitimate or not HMRC have issued an up to date guidance giving examples of valid and fake emails.

The full guidance from HMRC is available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/genuine-hmrc-contact-and-recognising-phishing-emails/genuine-hmrc-contact-and-recognising-phishing-emails

The HMRC Guidance gives examples of the emails they currently do send i.e. self assessment reminders.

Key items to focus on are:

·      To check the email address from which the email has come from. Valid emails would be from hmrc.gov.uk (or now gov.uk). Fraudsters are very good at disguising an email address to look like something similar.

·      HMRC will never send you details of a tax refund by email or request personal information from you.

·      Fraudulent emails normally use a generic greeting i.e. Dear Sir/Madam rather than using your real name (as they don’t know for sure your name).

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