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Protect yourself from phishing scams

Mark McMullen

The recent cyber attacks around the world have highlighted the need to ensure individuals are aware of the risks posed by phishing scams and are not tricked into either downloading harmful material online or providing personal or financial information to fraudsters.
HMRC has recently warned that an email is being circulated which purports to be from HMRC and is called ‘Your 2016 Tax Report’. This email, and any attachment, should not be opened and HMRC requests that it is forwarded to before being deleted.

There are currently a number of scams being operated and HMRC advises individuals to check that any contact from HMRC is genuine before responding to requests for information.

Over the past year a number of individuals have been contacted by people claiming to be from HMRC and are told that they have an outstanding debt with HMRC. Contact is being made in various ways, including text messages, emails, telephone calls and voicemail messages and individuals are being threatened with legal action if they do not make payment.

In some cases the callers have demanded payment by gift cards as they are easy to redeem and easy to sell on. The actual gift card is not needed; obtaining the serial number of the gift card over the telephone is sufficient.

HMRC advises that under no circumstances would it send notification of a tax refund or liability via an email or text message, or ask its customers to disclose personal or payment details in this manner. Guidance on how to report phishing emails, texts and tax scams can be found here.

For further examples of phishing scams visit:

If you are ever in doubt as to whether HMRC contact is genuine, please contact your usual Moore adviser before providing any information.