Update from HMRC on Genuine Communications

Despite awareness campaigns tackling the issue of bogus HMRC emails, there seems to be no end to businesses and individuals falling victims of phishing. Phishing is the fraudulent attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details, often for malicious reasons, by disguising as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.

In an attempt to make the public more aware of what a genuine HMRC communications look like, the Government recently updated their list of possible reasons why the HMRC may contact you by phone or email. It also lists any ongoing and scheduled telephone surveys which you may come across, as well as text message reminders.

Some of the most essential details to take away from this report is that genuine email reminders, such as: late returns, late payments, approaching deadline or VAT instructions; will come from a “no reply” email address and will be merely a reminder that you should log in to your account at a convenient time or call the number displayed on the official HMRC website. These will not urge you to take immediate action by emailing back or opening an attachment.

From HMRC:

“Emails from HMRC will never:

  • notify you of a tax rebate
  • offer you a repayment
  • ask you to disclose personal information such as your full address, postcode, Unique Taxpayer Reference or details of your bank account
  • give a non HMRC personal email address to send a response to
  • ask for financial information such as specific figures or tax computations, unless you’ve given us prior consent and you’ve formally accepted the risks
  • have attachments, unless you’ve given prior consent and you’ve formally accepted the risks”

We hope that sharing this information will help our clients and readers stay safe online and avoid the potential financial headache that falling for phishing scams may cause you and your business.

See the full official publication: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/genuine-hmrc-contact-and-recognising-phishing-emails/genuine-hmrc-contact-and-recognising-phishing-emails