Beware of inventive fraudulent scams

    writes Rodney Styles, partner, Haines Watts

    The threat from fraudsters continues to grow as criminals find ever more inventive ways to try and con people out of their money.

    I hope this blog will provide some useful information to help prevent you from becoming a victim.

    If you receive an email from HMRC offering you a tax rebate or repayment, it is almost certainly a scam. Emails from HMRC will never offer you any repayment, tell you about a tax rebate or ask you to send personal information (such as an address or bank details). Emails from HMRC will address you by your name, so look out if a generic salutation is used.  If the promise of any tax rebates are the carrot, demands for urgent action are the stick.

    Fraudsters will often try to scare you into complying by telling you that you need to do as they ask quickly, or face the consequences. Emails that use phrases like ‘you only have three days to respond’ or ‘urgent action required’ are likely to be a scam, so don’t fall for the scare tactics and contact HMRC if you’re unsure. Beware of dodgy attachments – do not open any attachments that you are not expecting. These could contain viruses that will give scammers a backdoor into your computer and allow them to make off with personal information on you, as well as your clients or customers.

    HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will never use texts or emails to:

    • tell you about a tax rebate or penalty
    • ask for personal or payment information.

    Check HMRC’s guidance on recognising scams if you’re not sure. Forward suspicious emails to HMRC’s phishing team: and forward any suspicious text messages to 60599 *Text messages charged at your network rate.

    Report a disclosure of personal details to HMRC. Contact the HMRC security team if you think you have given any personal information in reply to a suspicious email or text.

    Include brief details of what you disclosed (for example name, address, HMRC User ID, password) but do not give your personal details in the email. HMRC’s security team:

    Haines Watts supports many ambitious business owners throughout the local business community with first-rate business advisory and tax advice. Our wide range of services can help to strengthen your business and support you to accomplish your goals faster.

    Speak to our team of experts to help you work out how your business can achieve its goals faster in 2019.




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