Following the upsurge in fraudsters posing as HMRC officials by way of e-mail, text message and even Facebook message, the government has published official guidance on how to identify and avoid the scammers.
Official government websites, separately designated for internet scams and phishing, clearly state that the HMRC will not contact individuals by way of phone call, text message or email to discuss tax rebates and penalties or ask for personal payment details. In light of this, further governmental guidance instructs the public not to visit any websites, open any email attachments or disclose any personal payment information in response to emails purporting to be from the HMRC. Text messages purporting to be from the HMRC often contain harmful links, design to dupe people into handing over personal details to scammers. The HMRC’s official website reassures the public that it will never make contact by text message to discuss or tax rebates, refunds or penalties, nor will it ever request personal information by way of text message. Another common method of harvesting personal details is the inclusion of a PDF attachment in an email, which contains a link to a website asking for an online form to be completed. Again, this too is bogus and with it the tax scammers seek to gather personal payment details.
Alongside phone calls, text messages and emails, tax scammers posing as the HMRC have also resorted to using social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter and popular communication applications such as WhatsApp.
For official confirmation of any correspondence from HMRC, the government service offers an email address where enquires can be sent: email@example.com