In The News
Scammers take advantage of Covid 19
The big positive aspect of the Covid 19 situation has been the way that the country has come together to fight the virus and care for the wider community. Unfortunately not everyone has the same motives, and fraudsters are taking advantage of people’s anxiety and changes in normal routine and procedures to target both individuals and businesses.
With the first claims now submitted for both the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, it is the perfect time for scammers to contact you pretending to be HMRC. They are relying on the fact that the schemes are new, so people won’t be certain whether contact is part of the normal claims process, and also that claimants will be very keen to receive their money.
The approach could be in the form of email, text or phone call and HMRC have updated their guidance to explain how to identify genuine contact from them. They also outline some reasons they are currently contacting taxpayers and what format this will take. In addition, the accounting press has outlined that HMRC are calling to verify some Job Retention Scheme claims but when doing so they are able to quote parts of the claim reference number and are only verifying that a claim had been made by the claimant.
In general HMRC will not contact you to tell you that you are entitled to a tax refund or require you to disclose sensitive financial information via email or over the phone. Any unsolicited contact should be verified by visiting the gov.uk website or contacting us for further advice.
HMRC guidance can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/genuine-hmrc-contact-and-recognising-phishing-emails/genuine-hmrc-contact-and-recognising-phishing-emails#how-to-tell-if-an-email-is-fraudulent and example fraud attempts at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/phishing-and-bogus-emails-hm-revenue-and-customs-examples/phishing-emails-and-bogus-contact-hm-revenue-and-customs-examples
If you need to discuss any aspect of this issue in more depth, then please contact Michelle Malone at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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