Most of us think we would know how to recognise genuine contact from HMRC, and be able to tell if it's a phishing or bogus email. Whether it's for tax credits or PAYE notices and reminders HMRC will never ask you, or your clients, to disclose personal or financial information.
HMRC regularly updates its guidance to help our customers identify these scams, and also tell you about digital and other contact we are making, or plan, to make. But the scammers are getting better, with some now starting to use the HMRC logo. As well as looking out for key spelling mistakes and poor grammar, here are some other things to look out for:
- Incorrect email address - You should check the "from" address. Fraudsters can create addresses to look like they are genuine HMRC, for example @hmrc.gov.uk. If you’re not 100% sure that the message has come from us please don't open it. If you do open the email and you’re in doubt don’t click on any links or downloads.
- Bogus website - Scam emails will include links to bogus websites, which may look like ours, and then ask for personal information. Search our website and remove the risk of clicking on a misleading website.
- Urgent Action required - Scammers ask for immediate action. Be wary of phrases like 'you only have 3 days to reply" or "urgent action needed'.
If you think you may have received a phishing or bogus email you can check it against examples shown in this guide.
With so much email activity around, especially as we head towards 31 January, please do be on your guard, and if you do receive an email that you are not sure about, please report it to us and then delete it.
You may also wish to save our email address to your address book to help you identify us as genuine HMRC contact.