HMRC has issued a list of recent emails sent to the public. The list helps taxpayers determine whether an email from the UK tax authority is legitimate or a scam. HMRC asks to be notified whenever a member of the public receives a suspicious email, text or phone call purporting to be from HMRC.
Of course, such scams, unfortunately, exist all over the world. Members of the public should remain vigilant. That seems obvious in theory. After all, we are all aware of the dangers of phishing scams and other fraudulent communications. However, it is all too easy to momentarily forget, especially when correspondence appears official, and to provide confidential information to bad actors. It is therefore useful to periodically remind ourselves of the dangers.
What kind of correspondence does HMRC send?
As the list of correspondence details, HMRC may send items such as an annual tax summary. As the HMRC communications points out “The emails also explain what is in the annual summary. These emails will never ask you to give your personal or financial information.”
By contrast, HMRC never sends notifications about rebates or refunds nor will they request personal information by text.
Recently, an email scam purportedly about refunds related to Covid was circulated. Recipients must not respond to the email, and should not click on any of the links. Recipients are also urged to report the email directly to HMRC.
Switch to more secure VAT communication
As is clear, malevolent actors are constantly seeking to intercept sensitive information. Of course, one should be vigilant about sending financial data to the wrong recipient.
But even at the best of times, email and other ordinary electronic channels can be insecure. Given the sensitive nature of managing VAT compliance, businesses should not take their information security for granted.
In other words, businesses should not rely on error-prone, insecure and inefficient communication channels, such as email.
Secure, efficient VAT management
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