Top tips for avoiding phishing scams

1.      HMRC never sends tax refund notifications via email or text message, and will never ask for your personal information – so do not respond with your information!
 

2.      Sometimes, email addresses used to send fraudulent emails are spoofed, to look like official HMRC email addresses.  Although an email address may look very trustworthy by ending in @hmrc.gov.uk or something similar, this does not mean it has been sent by an official organisation.  Again, do not respond with your personal information if requested.
 

3.      Do not click links/attachments in emails/text messages that you are not sure are genuine.  Keep in mind that HMRC will not contact you regarding a potential tax rebate.  Links in emails that falsely claim you have a refund due are likely to be fraudulent, and may contain a virus or malware to damage your computer or steal your information.
 

4.      Do not give any personal information out to anybody who calls you and claims to be from an official organisation.  This can be any unsolicited cold caller, who is primarily after information that will allow them to gain from your misfortune.  The best way to be sure you are safe is to ring the number on the official website, and always make attempts to verify somebody’s identity.
 

5.      Use a professional to keep your tax affairs up to date and as efficient as possible, as this will avoid most of the doubt, as your returns are expertly prepared, and advice can be sought on strange-looking emails.  Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it may well be.
 

Sources: [1] Genuine HM Revenue and Customs contact and recognising phishing emails – GOV.UK, [2] Phishing emails and bogus contact: HM Revenue and Customs examples – GOV.UK