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Tax Season - Beware of Scammers - they are not HMRC and they are out to get you...

Nov 03, 2023
Scam Alert

Beware of Scammers: Protect Your Data and Finances from Fraudulent HMRC Schemes

Authored by Brookwood Accountancy

In the digital era, the convenience of managing our taxes online is a tremendous benefit, but it also opens up a pandora's box of potential fraud and scams. At Brookwood Accountancy, we are increasingly concerned about the rise of sophisticated scams targeting taxpayers. These scams often involve fraudulent communications that appear to be from HMRC, promising tax refunds or threatening with tax liabilities.

Understanding the Scam

The typical modus operandi of such scams involves sending emails, text messages, or phone calls that closely mimic legitimate HMRC correspondence. These messages are designed to create a sense of urgency or fear, prompting immediate action from the recipient. They often include links that lead to websites meticulously crafted to steal personal and financial information.

Here's what you need to know:

Recognizing the Red Flags

  1. Unsolicited Contact: HMRC will never notify you of a tax rebate or penalty via email or text message.
  2. Suspicious Links and Attachments: Legitimate HMRC emails will not contain attachments or links to websites requesting your personal or financial details.
  3. Pressure to Act Quickly: Scammers create a sense of urgency to rush you into making mistakes.
  4. Request for Personal Information: HMRC already has your taxpayer details and will not ask for them via these means.
  5. Poor Grammar and Spelling: Official communications undergo thorough checks, and glaring errors are a sign of fraud.

How to Protect Yourself

  • Verify Communications: Contact HMRC directly using contact details obtained from the official .gov.uk website if you receive any suspicious communications.
  • Use Secure Channels: Always log in to your HMRC account through the secure .gov.uk portal rather than clicking on links in emails or texts.
  • Keep Software Updated: Ensure that your antivirus and operating systems are up to date to fend off malware that might be delivered through phishing attempts.
  • Stay Informed: HMRC regularly updates about known scams on their website. Stay informed by checking their updates.

What to Do If You Suspect a Scam

  1. Do Not Respond: If you receive a suspicious email or text message, do not click on any links or open attachments.
  2. Report It: Forward suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC to [email protected] and texts to 60599. Or use this link: https://www.gov.uk/report-tax-fraud 
  3. Contact Professionals: If you’re unsure about the legitimacy of a contact or if you fear that your financial data has been compromised, reach out to us at Brookwood Accountancy. We can provide expert advice and support.
  4. Change Passwords: If you've clicked on a link and provided information, change your passwords immediately and monitor your accounts for unusual activity.

Professional Guidance is Key

At Brookwood Accountancy, we understand that dealing with HMRC can sometimes be daunting. This can make some taxpayers vulnerable to these sophisticated scams. That’s why we’re committed to providing ongoing support and guidance to our clients to navigate safely in their tax affairs.

In conclusion, always stay vigilant and cautious with your personal information, especially concerning your tax details. If something seems too good to be true, like an unexpected tax refund, or too intimidating, such as an unforeseen tax liability, it's crucial to pause and verify before you act.

For further assistance and to ensure your tax affairs are in safe hands, don’t hesitate to contact us at Brookwood Accountancy. We're here to help protect your data, your finances, and your peace of mind.

Brookwood Accountancy is dedicated to empowering our clients with the knowledge and resources to maintain financial security. Visit our website or contact us directly for personalized assistance and advice.

We are here to support you.  If anything in this Blog is relevant and you need help or advice, get in touch below.

Phone us: 01865 842266

Email us: [email protected]

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