People are warned to be aware of fraudulent emails and imitation HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) websites as the 31 January deadline for self-assessment tax returns looms.
The number of so-called ‘phishing’ emails – correspondence designed to acquire sensitive information such as passwords and credit card details – is likely to increase as scammers look to prey on unsuspecting taxpayers. Purporting to come from HMRC, they often demand payment or claim that a refund is due.
HMRC will never inform you about a tax rebate or penalty by email, so if you receive one of these messages, report it immediately by forwarding the message to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, be suspicious of emails that request personal or payment information such as usernames, passwords, bank or card details, and messages that use a vague non-specific greeting, such as ‘Dear customer’.”
As well as phishing emails, copycat websites exist that outwardly appear to be official and part of a Government service. However, there is a risk that if you use one of these sites, you could end up paying for services that you could get for free by using the official service.