Is your email really from HMRC?

Around half of people in the UK report that they’ve been targeted by scammers pretending to be from HMRC. There are a number of things you can do to protect yourself when you receive an email that appears to be from HMRC. Firstly, be on the look out for shoddy grammar and spelling mistakes, and check the email address that the message has originated from. Scammers often have poor use of the English language, and they use email addresses which are similar to the official one but don’t quite match. For example tax1@hmrc. org.uk.
Secondly, beware of the content of the email. Often online thieves will try to trigger certain emotions such as hope or fear to distract you and tempt you in. For example they might promise a tax rebate, or pretend to be from the compliance team and suggest that you need to cooperate with them in order to avoid fines and other penalties. Beware of messages that tell you to take action ‘urgently’ or within a short time period as this is often another clue that someone is trying to steal your data.
Thirdly, if the email asks you to reply with personal details or business data, be very suspicious as HMRC would never ask you to reveal any data in an email that should be kept secure. Also, check over the email address that you’re being asked to reply to, and be on your guard when opening any attachments. Scammers have been known to include links which lead to a fake HMRC ‘home page’ that looks almost identical to the genuine HMRC one, and attachments can contain nasty viruses which are purely designed to obtain your financial data.
If you’re ever suspicious of an email pupporting to be from HMRC, you should forward the message to HMRC’s phishing team at phishing@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk. If you think you’ve already been the victim of a scam you can also contact HMRC’s security team at security.custcon@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk. They will be able to offer you help and guidance to overcome the data breach.

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