Stay safe online with HMRC’s top tips
25 April 2019
Stay safe online with a strong and unique password, as we know cybersecurity threats are ever evolving. HMRC’s Tax Agent Blog provides top tips on how to improve your online security with passwords and being vigilant.
Use strong and separate passwords
- don’t use the same password over multiple systems
- choose something that’s not easy to guess; such as three random words or a combination of letters and numbers
- don’t use words or dates that are related to you or your family, e.g. birthdays, children’s names, pets’ names
- keep your password private – don’t share it with colleagues
- immediately change your password if you suspect it has been compromised
- don’t use a variation of your old password when changing it
- use two-step verification when available.
Beware of misleading websites
Scammers create websites that look similar to HMRC’s official site and then direct the public to call numbers with extortionate costs, instead of the low cost and no cost service HMRC provides. These sites promote non-HMRC premium rate phone numbers as a means of reaching HMRC but are merely call forwarding services, which connect callers to HMRC at a significant price.
Always check GOV.UK for genuine contact numbers.
Beware of phishing emails/texts/calls
- Recognise the signs – genuine organisations like banks and HMRC will never contact you out of the blue to ask for your PIN, password or bank details
- Stay safe – don’t give out private information, reply to text messages, download attachments or click on links in emails you weren’t expecting
- Take action if you think something’s wrong
- emails – forward to [email protected]
- texts – forward to 60599
- suspicious phone calls – email us at the above address with as much detail as possible – caller number (dial 1471, the number displayed could be spoofed), date of the call and a brief description
- if you have suffered financial loss contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use their online fraud reporting tool
- check GOV.UK for information on how to avoid and report scams and recognise genuine HMRC contact.
Protect your devices
- always install software and app updates
- install anti-virus protection and keep it up to date
- Go to HMRC's online security information for agents for more information.