Avoiding falling victim to fake HMRC scams

22 August 2017

To help HMRC users to check whether a communication might be genuine HMRC publish and regularly update guidance of some of the work that they will be carrying out in the coming weeks and months.  The latest update of guidance includes the news that from August 2017 letters inviting households to participate in the annual HMRC Customer Survey are being sent out. The letters include a link to the survey. The letters are being sent by Kantar Public, an independent research organisation undertaking the survey on behalf of HMRC and will carry HMRC’s logo.

Additional letters and postcards reminding households, who have not responded, to complete the survey will also be sent out in September 2017 with the same information.

Letters to businesses and tax agents requesting participation in the annual HMRC Customer Survey are also being sent out from August 2017. The letters inform customers that they may be contacted by telephone by a representative from Kantar Public an independent research organisation undertaking the survey on behalf of HMRC.

Whether completed online, on paper or on the telephone, the survey will not ask the customer to provide any personal or financial information.

The guidance can be read in full at GOV.UK and also includes information to help users establish whether an email may be fraudulent.

 Be aware of email addresses that may appear to be from HMRC eg ‘refunds@hmrc.org.uk’ and be aware that the ‘from’ address can be falsified to look like a legitimate HMRC address eg @hmrc.gov.uk.

Unless you are absolutely certain that the message has come from HMRC do not open it. If you do open the email and you are in doubt do not click on any links or downloads.

Emails from HMRC will never:

  • Notify you of a tax rebate
  • Offer you a repayment
  • Ask you to disclose personal information such as your full address, postcode, Unique Taxpayer Reference or details of your bank account
  • Give a non HMRC personal email address to send a response to
  • Ask for financial information such as specific figures or tax computations, unless you have previously given consent and you have formally accepted the risks
  • Have attachments, unless you have given prior consent and you have formally accepted the risks
  • Provide a link to a secure log in page or a form asking for information - instead you will be asked you to log on to your online (business or personal) account to check for information

Report misleading websites, emails, phone numbers, phone calls or text messages you think may be suspicious. Full details are available at GOV.UK.

As with any other scan emails or communications HMRC warn against you giving out private information such as bank details or passwords, replying to text messages, downloading attachments or clicking on any links in emails if you are not absolutely certain they are genuine.