HMRC updates guidance on reporting suspicious emails, texts & phone calls – scam warning | Personal Finance | Finance | #phishing | #scams

HMRC may need to contact UK consumers from time to time in bid to help them with their tax affairs and as Rishi Sunak launched several support measures, the department has seen unprecedented demand over the last year or so. Unfortunately, this demand has increased the risk of fraud as scammers attempt to take advantage of coronavirus.

Suspicious text messages

Similarly to emails, suspicious text messages can be forwarded to 60599.

It should be noted text messages will be charged at the consumers network rate.

HMRC warned it will ever send notifications of a tax rebate or ask you to disclose personal or payment information by text message.

Additionally, HMRC noted again that it may share a person’s phone number with other organisations in a bid to close down a scam.

Scams in general have become a big issue for the Government, with an Online Safety Bill, currently making its way through Parliament, attempting to address the issue.

This was addressed by the Queen herself as she said the following in a speech delivered in the Commons: “My Government will lead the way in ensuring internet safety for all, especially for children whilst harnessing the benefits of a free, open and secure internet.”

This couldn’t come sooner for many consumers, with recent analysis from Dojo, the payment company, showing online scam problems have skyrocketed this year.

Dojo examined the latest online search data which revealed email scam searches rose by 633 percent over the last month or so.

Martin Wilson, the Head of Remote Payments at Dojo, commented on these results.

He said: “Scammers are getting more creative with their deceit. With the rise in ecommerce accelerated by the global pandemic, seasoned fraudsters are seizing the opportunity to exploit the vulnerable and less-tech savvy.

“For the many people adopting new technologies such as online banking and shopping for the first time during COVID-19, these frauds are incredibly convincing and traumatic.

“Over the last month, SMS and email phishing scams have risen by a large amount with recent Google search volumes for online scams increasing by up to 633 percent with scammers asking potential victims to complete an immediate action to prevent fines or to receive packages.

“It is clear that online platforms need support from the government to help them prevent fraudulent and fake content on their sites so that their users are better protected. Now as the Online Safety Bill is being drafted it would be practical to implement the inclusion of scam fraud.”

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