HM Revenue & Customs and Online Fraud

The use of a computer and the internet has become a normal part of every day life whether it be communicating via emails, online shopping or online banking. Electronic communications and transactions also play an important role in how HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) operates. Fortunately HMRC are committed to ensuring that their systems, along with customer records, are constantly monitored to safe guard against fraudulent activity.

However, with this in mind, HMRC have a number of recommendations to help reduce the risks posed by online fraudsters.

Firstly, keep your login details personal. Do not write them down or tell anyone what they are, this includes HMRC staff etc.

  • Always use strong passwords. Something that could not be guessed easily and contains a mixture of upper case letters, lower case letters and numbers.
  • Be aware of any unsolicited emails which appear to be from an HMRC email address. A frequently used scam email refers to a tax rebate that you may be entitled to.

The HMRC website states the following

“HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) will never send notifications of a tax rebate by email, or ask you to disclose personal or payment information by email.

Do not visit the website contained within the email or disclose any personal or payment information.”

To help tackle these issues, if you receive an email from HMRC that you think may not be genuine, it should be forwarded to phishing@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk and then deleted.

The methods of online fraud are regularly changing, however you can highly reduce the risk of becoming a victim simply by staying alert to suspicious communications and maintaining the privacy of your personal log in details and passwords.

Please find below a link to the HM Revenue & Customs website regarding advice about online security:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/security/index.htm

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