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Author: JP / / Latest News

Falling Hook Line and Sinker for Phishing

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Phishing scams involving emails, texts messages and even contact on social media, have been ever growing this year. HMRC have released a guide to spotting a bogus text message or a phishing email.

In the guide HMRC state – ‘We’ll never send notifications of a tax rebate or refund by email, or ask you to disclose personal or payment information by email.’

Here are some terms you maybe unfamiliar with that appear in this article.

Phishing – the fraudulent practice of sending emails claiming to be from reputable companies, in order to induce individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers.

Malware – software which is specifically designed to disrupt, damage, or gain authorized access to a computer system.

Many of the emails sent involve links or PDF attachments that lead you to these fake websites, or worse, contains harmful malware. Here you are prompted to enter personal details which go straight to the ‘scammers’. So, if you receive an email from ‘HMRC’ stating you have a tax rebate or a refund, don’t click the link or open the attachment!

HMRC have instructed people receiving such emails to forward them to: phishing@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk to aid them in their investigations, and to simply delete the email.

Some email addresses already known to HMRC are as follows:

  • refund@hmrc.gov
  • secure@hmrc.co.uk
  • taxrefund-notice@hmrc.gov.uk
  • taxrefund@hmrc.gov.uk
  • refund-help@hmrc.gov.uk
  • alert@hmrc.gov.uk
  • refunds@hmrc.gov.uk
  • rebate@hmrc.gov.uk
  • HM-Revenue-&-Customs@ztoro.com

If you receive an email from one of these accounts, again, don’t follow any of the links, open any attachments, and do not enter any personal details.

Here is an example that HMRC have published, of a fake email and the fake website it leads you to:

 

‘Scammers’ are even using text messages as a phishing tool. Sometimes,HMRC may text you, but they will never be offering a tax refund, in exchange for personal details.

Here is an example of a phishing text message:

HMRC guide: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/phishing-and-bogus-emails-hm-revenue-and-customs-examples/phishing-emails-and-bogus-contact-hm-revenue-and-customs-examples

 

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