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Mr Spam has been a very busy man indeed! Recently, our clients have been experiencing a high level of bogus H.M Revenue and Customs (HMRC) related emails, also known as “phishing emails”. So this blog is designed to help identify and reduce the risk of your computer picking up an unwanted virus.

How can you tell whether an important email really has come from HMRC or is Mr Spam up to his dirty tricks?

Approach all correspondence from HMRC with caution! Even with the most up-to-date spam filtering technology, there are always a few rogue emails that slip through the net. HMRC will never send notifications for a repayment via email. If you think you have received a spam email, we would advise not to open the email or any links attached. If you can ‘quick view’ the content via a secondary window in your email (usually to your right), this will prevent opening links that could contain a virus. Usually, these are designed to steal your bank details and other sensitive information. Do not respond to the email or download any attachments and make sure you delete it immediately.

If the email received includes a link to HMRC’s online verification service, it’s a good sign. But, if the message includes a request for payment, states that you are due a repayment to your bank account or they request your personal details, it will not be from HMRC!
HMRC will only send emails with deadlines, reminders and useful information.

Like any legitimate organisation, they will never ever ask you for sensitive information via email. Below is an example of an email from Mr Spam.

HMRC

 

Here are a few signs to look out for, all of which are often ropey:

  • Emails in plain text without any branding or logos (as the example above shows).
  • Offers that are just too good to be true. For example, a massive tax rebate!
  • Any email that your system labels as “Spam”.
  • Emails asking for personal information or bank details.
  • Look out for spelling and grammar mistakes.

 

Let’s fight “Mr Spam” together, be vigilant and cautious and report misleading websites, emails, phone calls or text messages you think may be suspicious. If you receive any of these emails forward them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and then delete them. If you think you have given personal details in reply to a suspicious email, contact HMRC at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. as a matter of urgency.