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How to spot HMRC phone, text and email tax scams

Table of Contents

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Following last week’s article on phishing and managed security awareness training, this week is all about another sort of cybersecurity hack you need to be aware of. Unfortunately, this sort of attempted scam is more challenging to spot. Devised by hackers and criminals worldwide, tax scams are perhaps the easiest way for hackers to steal your details and money. However, that does not mean that you have to accept that these cybercriminals can get away with it. There are ways that you can cope with these constant tax scam messages, and here’s what to look for.

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What is a tax scam?

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Ignoring tax scams used to be as simple as just disregarding a spam email that had arrived in your junk folder. Although claiming to be addressed from HMRC, a more detailed look at the email address would help you quickly identify a scam. There would usually be obvious spelling errors to look out for in addition.

Nowadays, however, tax scams are a lot more challenging to spot. Someone could be trying to gain your details via the phone, email, or text message. The scary thing for most businesses and individuals is that now these are much more authentic and harder to spot. If a government authority or organisation contacts you, it must be legitimate? Have you missed a payment date? Did you forget to complete a tax return or file an invoice? All these thoughts and questions will go through your mind, and before you know it, you’ve clicked on the link or answered a security question. Once you’ve done that, there is no turning back. That hacker or cybercriminal will then have your details or personal data.

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filter_sepia_hover=”0″ filter_opacity_hover=”100″ filter_blur_hover=”0″]https://neuways.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/Tax-Scams-Phishing-Banner-400×447.png[/fusion_imageframe][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container][fusion_builder_container type=”flex” hundred_percent=”no” hundred_percent_height=”no” hundred_percent_height_scroll=”no” align_content=”stretch” flex_align_items=”flex-start” flex_justify_content=”flex-start” hundred_percent_height_center_content=”yes” equal_height_columns=”no” container_tag=”div” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” status=”published” border_style=”solid” box_shadow=”no” box_shadow_blur=”0″ box_shadow_spread=”0″ gradient_start_position=”0″ gradient_end_position=”100″ gradient_type=”linear” radial_direction=”center center” linear_angle=”180″ background_position=”center center” background_repeat=”no-repeat” fade=”no” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ 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How to spot tax scams

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There is a reason these cybercriminals choose tax scams. As mentioned before, as soon as an email or text comes through from HMRC, your mind goes blank, and it can induce a state of panic. Alternatively, it can cause excitement as sometimes a hacker might say that you are entitled to money, and you need to click on a link to get it. Criminals have been doing it for years, and they do not look like stopping. So, here’s how you can spot a tax scam, barring the apparent false email address and spelling errors.

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background_type=”single” gradient_start_position=”0″ gradient_end_position=”100″ gradient_type=”linear” radial_direction=”center center” linear_angle=”180″ background_position=”left top” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_blend_mode=”none” filter_type=”regular” filter_hue=”0″ filter_saturation=”100″ filter_brightness=”100″ filter_contrast=”100″ filter_invert=”0″ filter_sepia=”0″ filter_opacity=”100″ filter_blur=”0″ filter_hue_hover=”0″ filter_saturation_hover=”100″ filter_brightness_hover=”100″ filter_contrast_hover=”100″ filter_invert_hover=”0″ filter_sepia_hover=”0″ filter_opacity_hover=”100″ filter_blur_hover=”0″ animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ last=”true” border_position=”all” first=”true” min_height=”” link=””][fusion_button target=”_self” color=”custom” linear_angle=”187″ stretch=”default” icon_position=”left” icon_divider=”no” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” 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What will HMRC contact you about?

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Spotting an HMRC tax scam can be pretty straightforward. First, however, you need to remember some key facts, as highlighted on the Government website:

You will never get an email, a text message, or a message in an application (such as Whatsapp) that includes information regarding a tax rebate or penalty and personal or payment information.

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What to do if you receive an HMRC tax scam message?

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If you receive an email that claims to be from HMRC, you should never click on any of the links. HMRC would never ask you to follow any links. You should also never reply to any emails or texts with confidential or payment information. However, HMRC does provide an option for you to contact them directly, and this is the best way to determine whether or not the email is a scam (if the obvious signs are not there).

Many fraudsters are becoming imaginative and creative in their methods also. For example, sometimes, you may receive a phone call from a mobile number, and once you’ve answered, the caller on the other end is silent. Why do they do this? Because they would like to confirm that the mobile number is functional and that there is a natural person on the other end of the phone who will also answer the phone.

According to HMRC, they may sometimes contact a person about outstanding tax bills. In this case, they will always quote your taxpayer reference number. If it is an automated message, listen out for the reference number and ensure it aligns up against yours. You can then always contact HMRC about how to pay.

[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container][fusion_builder_container type=”flex” hundred_percent=”no” hundred_percent_height=”no” hundred_percent_height_scroll=”no” align_content=”stretch” flex_align_items=”flex-start” flex_justify_content=”flex-start” hundred_percent_height_center_content=”yes” equal_height_columns=”no” container_tag=”div” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” status=”published” border_style=”solid” box_shadow=”no” box_shadow_blur=”0″ box_shadow_spread=”0″ gradient_start_position=”0″ gradient_end_position=”100″ gradient_type=”linear” radial_direction=”center center” linear_angle=”180″ background_position=”center center” background_repeat=”no-repeat” fade=”no” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ background_blend_mode=”none” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_loop=”yes” video_mute=”yes” absolute=”off” absolute_devices=”small,medium,large” sticky=”off” sticky_devices=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” sticky_transition_offset=”0″ scroll_offset=”0″ animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ filter_hue=”0″ filter_saturation=”100″ filter_brightness=”100″ filter_contrast=”100″ filter_invert=”0″ filter_sepia=”0″ filter_opacity=”100″ filter_blur=”0″ filter_hue_hover=”0″ filter_saturation_hover=”100″ filter_brightness_hover=”100″ filter_contrast_hover=”100″ filter_invert_hover=”0″ filter_sepia_hover=”0″ filter_opacity_hover=”100″ filter_blur_hover=”0″][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ layout=”1_1″ align_self=”auto” content_layout=”column” align_content=”flex-start” valign_content=”flex-start” content_wrap=”wrap” center_content=”no” column_tag=”div” target=”_self” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” sticky_display=”normal,sticky” order_medium=”0″ order_small=”0″ hover_type=”none” border_style=”solid” box_shadow=”no” box_shadow_blur=”0″ box_shadow_spread=”0″ background_type=”single” gradient_start_position=”0″ gradient_end_position=”100″ gradient_type=”linear” radial_direction=”center center” linear_angle=”180″ background_position=”left top” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_blend_mode=”none” filter_type=”regular” filter_hue=”0″ filter_saturation=”100″ filter_brightness=”100″ filter_contrast=”100″ filter_invert=”0″ filter_sepia=”0″ filter_opacity=”100″ filter_blur=”0″ filter_hue_hover=”0″ filter_saturation_hover=”100″ filter_brightness_hover=”100″ filter_contrast_hover=”100″ filter_invert_hover=”0″ filter_sepia_hover=”0″ filter_opacity_hover=”100″ filter_blur_hover=”0″ animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ last=”true” border_position=”all” first=”true” min_height=”” link=””][fusion_text animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” sticky_display=”normal,sticky”]

Neuways recommends

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Regarding possible tax scams, the advice Neuways provides to customers, and anybody else is to take a step back and look for scam identifiers. Phrases such as ‘immediate action’ are designed to cause panic, and the human mind is trained to get it sorted out straight away. If you are concerned and get what you perceive to be an alarming email, always go through the official channels with HMRC. In addition, some clarity will also help. Stepping back and thinking about what you possibly owe/are entitled to before taking any action is very important.

[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container][fusion_builder_container type=”flex” hundred_percent=”no” hundred_percent_height=”no” hundred_percent_height_scroll=”no” align_content=”stretch” flex_align_items=”flex-start” flex_justify_content=”flex-start” hundred_percent_height_center_content=”yes” equal_height_columns=”no” container_tag=”div” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” status=”published” border_style=”solid” box_shadow=”no” box_shadow_blur=”0″ box_shadow_spread=”0″ gradient_start_position=”0″ gradient_end_position=”100″ gradient_type=”linear” radial_direction=”center center” linear_angle=”180″ background_position=”center center” background_repeat=”no-repeat” fade=”no” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ background_blend_mode=”none” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_loop=”yes” video_mute=”yes” absolute=”off” absolute_devices=”small,medium,large” sticky=”off” sticky_devices=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” sticky_transition_offset=”0″ scroll_offset=”0″ animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ filter_hue=”0″ filter_saturation=”100″ filter_brightness=”100″ filter_contrast=”100″ filter_invert=”0″ filter_sepia=”0″ filter_opacity=”100″ filter_blur=”0″ filter_hue_hover=”0″ filter_saturation_hover=”100″ filter_brightness_hover=”100″ filter_contrast_hover=”100″ filter_invert_hover=”0″ filter_sepia_hover=”0″ filter_opacity_hover=”100″ filter_blur_hover=”0″][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ layout=”1_1″ align_self=”auto” content_layout=”column” align_content=”flex-start” valign_content=”flex-start” content_wrap=”wrap” center_content=”no” column_tag=”div” target=”_self” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” sticky_display=”normal,sticky” order_medium=”0″ order_small=”0″ hover_type=”none” border_style=”solid” box_shadow=”no” box_shadow_blur=”0″ box_shadow_spread=”0″ background_type=”single” gradient_start_position=”0″ gradient_end_position=”100″ gradient_type=”linear” radial_direction=”center center” linear_angle=”180″ background_position=”left top” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_blend_mode=”none” filter_type=”regular” filter_hue=”0″ filter_saturation=”100″ filter_brightness=”100″ filter_contrast=”100″ filter_invert=”0″ filter_sepia=”0″ filter_opacity=”100″ filter_blur=”0″ filter_hue_hover=”0″ filter_saturation_hover=”100″ filter_brightness_hover=”100″ filter_contrast_hover=”100″ filter_invert_hover=”0″ filter_sepia_hover=”0″ filter_opacity_hover=”100″ filter_blur_hover=”0″ animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ last=”true” border_position=”all” first=”true” min_height=”” link=””][fusion_text animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” sticky_display=”normal,sticky” margin_top=”0″ margin_right=”0″ margin_bottom=”0″ margin_left=”0″]

If you have been affected by a tax scam

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If you or someone you know has been affected by a possible scam, you should contact HMRC as soon as possible via the official channels (not through any links they have sent!). The sooner you make HMRC aware of any potential issues, and it can help avoid long-lasting damage.

[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container][fusion_builder_container type=”flex” hundred_percent=”no” hundred_percent_height=”no” hundred_percent_height_scroll=”no” align_content=”stretch” flex_align_items=”flex-start” flex_justify_content=”flex-start” hundred_percent_height_center_content=”yes” equal_height_columns=”no” container_tag=”div” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” status=”published” border_style=”solid” box_shadow=”no” box_shadow_blur=”0″ box_shadow_spread=”0″ gradient_start_position=”0″ gradient_end_position=”100″ gradient_type=”linear” radial_direction=”center center” linear_angle=”180″ background_position=”center center” background_repeat=”no-repeat” fade=”no” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ background_blend_mode=”none” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_loop=”yes” video_mute=”yes” absolute=”off” absolute_devices=”small,medium,large” sticky=”off” sticky_devices=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” sticky_transition_offset=”0″ scroll_offset=”0″ animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ filter_hue=”0″ filter_saturation=”100″ filter_brightness=”100″ filter_contrast=”100″ filter_invert=”0″ filter_sepia=”0″ filter_opacity=”100″ filter_blur=”0″ filter_hue_hover=”0″ filter_saturation_hover=”100″ filter_brightness_hover=”100″ filter_contrast_hover=”100″ filter_invert_hover=”0″ filter_sepia_hover=”0″ filter_opacity_hover=”100″ filter_blur_hover=”0″][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ layout=”1_1″ align_self=”auto” content_layout=”column” align_content=”flex-start” valign_content=”flex-start” content_wrap=”wrap” center_content=”no” column_tag=”div” target=”_self” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” sticky_display=”normal,sticky” order_medium=”0″ order_small=”0″ hover_type=”none” border_style=”solid” box_shadow=”no” box_shadow_blur=”0″ box_shadow_spread=”0″ background_type=”single” gradient_start_position=”0″ gradient_end_position=”100″ gradient_type=”linear” radial_direction=”center center” linear_angle=”180″ background_position=”left top” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_blend_mode=”none” filter_type=”regular” filter_hue=”0″ filter_saturation=”100″ filter_brightness=”100″ filter_contrast=”100″ filter_invert=”0″ filter_sepia=”0″ filter_opacity=”100″ filter_blur=”0″ filter_hue_hover=”0″ filter_saturation_hover=”100″ filter_brightness_hover=”100″ filter_contrast_hover=”100″ filter_invert_hover=”0″ filter_sepia_hover=”0″ filter_opacity_hover=”100″ filter_blur_hover=”0″ animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ last=”true” border_position=”all” first=”true” min_height=”” link=””][fusion_text animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” sticky_display=”normal,sticky”]

So if your business experiences a potential attack, and one of your employees may not be aware, it is time to get in touch with Neuways. We can be your Managed Service Provider; call us on 01283 753333 to see what steps we can take to help safeguard your business.

[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container][fusion_builder_container type=”flex” hundred_percent=”no” hundred_percent_height=”no” hundred_percent_height_scroll=”no” align_content=”stretch” flex_align_items=”flex-start” flex_justify_content=”flex-start” hundred_percent_height_center_content=”yes” equal_height_columns=”no” container_tag=”div” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” status=”published” border_style=”solid” box_shadow=”no” box_shadow_blur=”0″ box_shadow_spread=”0″ gradient_start_position=”0″ gradient_end_position=”100″ gradient_type=”linear” radial_direction=”center center” linear_angle=”180″ background_position=”center center” background_repeat=”no-repeat” fade=”no” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ background_blend_mode=”none” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_loop=”yes” video_mute=”yes” absolute=”off” absolute_devices=”small,medium,large” sticky=”off” sticky_devices=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” sticky_transition_offset=”0″ scroll_offset=”0″ animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ filter_hue=”0″ filter_saturation=”100″ filter_brightness=”100″ filter_contrast=”100″ filter_invert=”0″ filter_sepia=”0″ filter_opacity=”100″ filter_blur=”0″ filter_hue_hover=”0″ filter_saturation_hover=”100″ filter_brightness_hover=”100″ filter_contrast_hover=”100″ filter_invert_hover=”0″ filter_sepia_hover=”0″ filter_opacity_hover=”100″ filter_blur_hover=”0″][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ layout=”1_1″ align_self=”auto” content_layout=”column” align_content=”flex-start” valign_content=”flex-start” content_wrap=”wrap” center_content=”no” column_tag=”div” target=”_self” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” sticky_display=”normal,sticky” order_medium=”0″ order_small=”0″ hover_type=”none” border_style=”solid” box_shadow=”no” box_shadow_blur=”0″ box_shadow_spread=”0″ background_type=”single” gradient_start_position=”0″ gradient_end_position=”100″ gradient_type=”linear” radial_direction=”center center” linear_angle=”180″ background_position=”left top” background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_blend_mode=”none” filter_type=”regular” filter_hue=”0″ filter_saturation=”100″ filter_brightness=”100″ filter_contrast=”100″ filter_invert=”0″ filter_sepia=”0″ filter_opacity=”100″ filter_blur=”0″ filter_hue_hover=”0″ filter_saturation_hover=”100″ filter_brightness_hover=”100″ filter_contrast_hover=”100″ filter_invert_hover=”0″ filter_sepia_hover=”0″ filter_opacity_hover=”100″ filter_blur_hover=”0″ animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ last=”true” border_position=”all” first=”true” min_height=”” link=””][fusion_button target=”_self” color=”custom” linear_angle=”187″ stretch=”default” icon_position=”left” icon_divider=”no” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” sticky_display=”normal,sticky” link=”https://neuways.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Phishing-Awareness-Training-Booklet.pdf” button_gradient_top_color_hover=”#e55b00″ button_gradient_bottom_color_hover=”#e55b00″ border_radius_top_left=”90px” border_radius_top_right=”90px” border_radius_bottom_right=”90px” border_radius_bottom_left=”90px” size=”medium” alignment=”center”]Download How to Spot a Phishing Guide[/fusion_button][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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Frequently Asked Questions

As a leading IT and technology provider, we offer three core services, all of which have additional add-ons. We offer Managed IT Support, Business Central implementation and consultation, as well as Managed Cyber Security. Call us on 01283 753333 if you are interested in any of our services.

Contact us

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Email: hello@neuways.com

Managed IT support is a comprehensive solution where an expert IT provider, like Neuways, handles your technology infrastructure. This includes proactive monitoring, maintenance, cyber security, and support.

Yes we do. Your business needs Cyber Security due to the increasing number of cyber threats that are affecting businesses in all industries. If your business has data and technology systems implemented, you will need Managed Cyber Security.

Yes we can. We have our own dedicated Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central teams who work to ensure that we can implement the right systems and solutions into your website that are absolute right for you. 

Exclaimer Pro is a dynamic email signature that helps clients to switch and change around email signatures so that clients are able to advertise different offers and brands to a variety of email recipients. Administrators can also manage user emails internally, meaning the user does not have to touch their own email signature.

We offer Managed Security Training to help employees spot email phishing attacks, spear phishing attacks and vishing attacks. We also help train clients on how to use the various pieces of software we provide to clients, like Exclaimer Pro, Business Central and Cybersafe software.

We are a Managed IT Support provider based in Derby, East Midlands. However, we cover so many areas including the whole of the UK, Europe, and America. We are always willing to travel and send our expert technicians to ensure you have the best experience. 

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