TT95: HMRC spoof emails

March 23, 2007

A new angle on an old trick

Phishing is a scam that has been around for a few years where criminals send emails to thousands of people. Historically these emails have purported to come from banks, credit card companies, online shops and other trusted organisations. They usually contain a compelling but bogus reason to send money or personal details to a specific address or go to a fake site, for example to update your password before your account is suspended.

Victims are usually asked to click on an embedded link in the email itself which takes them to a website that looks exactly like the real thing but is, in fact, a fake site designed to trick victims into entering personal information such as a password or credit card number.

The effectiveness of these scams diminishes as more people become aware of them, so the criminals come up with new ideas – and Barnes Roffe has become aware these criminals have decided H M Revenue & Customs (HMRC) can help them put a new angle on their old trick.

How it works

The Internet scammers send emails seemingly from HMRC that ask for bank details or even ask directly for money. They usually apply either a ‘carrot’ (e.g. a tax rebate is waiting to be sent to you) or a ‘stick’ (e.g. Failure to comply will result…) approach. Clients should be aware that HMRC would never use the Internet for such purposes.

Barnes Roffe Topical Tips:

If you are in any doubt about an email you receive, consult your Barnes Roffe contact Partner. Our IT department is constantly monitoring such activity and will be able to advise you.

More information on fraudulent HMRC emails can be found on the HMRC website athttp://www.hmrc.gov.uk/security/spoofs.htm

HMRC invite you report spoof emails by forwarding them to domains@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk They will not respond individually to each email but will take action.

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