Have you noticed a significant increase in the number of scam calls, phishing emails and dodgy texts to your mobile in recent weeks? We certainly have. Some of Taxfile’s customers have been asking if any are genuine, so we thought we’d send out this warning …
If you receive a call, email or text from HMRC asking for your personal or financial details, it’s simple: DO NOT to give ANY information away via text, email or to someone calling you by telephone. They could be anyone! Your information will be used against you if it gets into the wrong hands — and that could potentially cost you a LOT of money. So if they call, text or email you out of the blue:
- don’t confirm your date of birth,
- don’t confirm your National Insurance Number,
- don’t tell them your your mother’s Maiden name,
- don’t confirm your Unique Taxpayer Reference (‘UTR’) or any other piece of personal or financial information,
- … even if they say it’s urgent (most fraudsters will say it is, so as to panic you into divulging your information).
Even one bit of data given away can be dangerous these days. ‘Social Engineering’ scams can use one bit of information as a starting point to eventually build a more complete picture of your sensitive data. Once they have enough pieces of the jigsaw, they can potentially take over your identity, empty your bank account or go on a spending spree with a credit or debit card issued in your name. People have lost thousands! So, the message is to be careful not to give anything away via email, SMS/text or to someone who has telephoned you out of the blue.
If HMRC do send you a genuine email, text your mobile or call you, they will never ask for personal information, financial information or payment details. It may help you to check here to see a list of genuine communications that HMRC has recently sent.
If you’re going to give HMRC information and want to be sure it’s genuine, you need to manually navigate to their gov.uk website or call them, and only then if you are 100% certain that you have arrived on the genuine gov.uk website or have a genuine HMRC telephone number.
Check HMRC’s guidance on recognising scams if you’re not sure. Read our post specifically about how to recognise scam emails here. Lastly, you can report phishing and scams here if you spot one.
Contact Taxfile – South London’s Favourite Tax Accountants
We hope this has helped. Be careful out there! If you have any queries, call Taxfile on 020 8761 8000 or contact us here. We’re also here to help you, of course, if you need help with tax returns, limited company accounts, bookkeeping, CIS tax refunds, tax rebates, or any other type of tax or accountancy-related work.