Scammers on the Rise

We have received an alarming number of reports of scam emails and phone calls in the past few days. HMRC lists the following advice on their website:

Phone Calls

HMRC is aware of an automated phone call scam which will tell you HMRC is filing a lawsuit against you, and to press “one” to speak to a caseworker to make a payment. We can confirm this is a scam and you should end the call immediately.

Social Media

A recent scam was identified on Twitter offering a tax refund.

These messages are not from genuine HMRC social media accounts and are a scam. HMRC never use social media to:

• offer a tax rebate

• request personal or financial information

WhatsApp messages

HMRC will never use ‘WhatsApp’ to contact customers about a tax refund. If you receive any communication through ‘WhatsApp’ saying it’s from HMRC, it is a scam.

Text messages

HMRC will never ask for personal or financial information when they send text messages.

Do not reply if you get a text message claiming to be from HMRC offering you a tax refund in exchange for personal or financial details. Do not open any links in the message.

Email addresses

HMRC will never send notifications by email about tax rebates or refunds.

Do not:

• visit the website

• open any attachments

• disclose any personal or payment information

Fraudsters may spoof a genuine email address or change the ‘display name’ to make it appear genuine. If you are unsure, forward it to us and then delete it.

Vehicle Charge

We have also seen a scam that demands payment for “the use of a vehicle on a road in the charging area which a charging scheme applies without payment of the appropriate charge”

The DVSA have said that they never send fixed penalty fines via email.

Hacking Emails

Fraudsters are using phishing emails to steal usernames and passwords, allowing them to hack your personal or business email accounts.

They then troll and monitor your email account for an opportunity to intercept an invoice. For example, when you are purchasing goods and awaiting an invoice on email, or if your business is sending an invoice by email.

The scammers intercept an email, change the bank details on the invoice and send it on for payment. In many cases, they use spoofing to make the email address seem credible and trustworthy. Spoofing changes a letter or domain in the email address to make it appear legitimate.

The recipient pays the invoice thinking it comes from a legitimate source, when in fact the money is paid into the scammer’s account.

On this, we recommend a follow up phone call where any payment is requested that is unexpected, or where bank details change, to verify the payment should be made. New suppliers should also be verified by phone for the first payment.

Please be aware of all of these scams. If in doubt on any payment request at all, please do contact us. Better to be safe than sorry.

We pride ourselves on our client relationships, and the quality of our work and advice. We aim to deliver all our services in a friendly, efficient and productive manner. Our client base consists mainly of owner managed businesses, landed estates, private clients and other professionals.