How do I know if a text message from HMRC about a tax refund is legitimate? Shane Martin, Tax Director at FPM answers this commonly asked question…
Don’t fall for text message scams during tax season.
Stay vigilant and protect yourself from cybercriminals who exploit the anxiety surrounding tax filing. To ensure the legitimacy of HMRC communications, follow these secure practices:
- Be cautious of unsolicited messages: Scammers often pose as government departments like HMRC through emails, calls, or texts. Verify unexpected communications by reaching out to the department using official contact information. You can also report suspicious activity via the HMRC website.
- Watch out for phishing attempts: Phishing emails and texts frequently contain fraudulent links that lead to fake websites, aiming to steal sensitive information. Avoid clicking on unknown or suspicious links and verify the sender’s legitimacy before taking any action.
- Guard against fake phone calls: Impersonation of HMRC staff is another tactic scammers employ. Remember that HMRC typically contacts individuals via mail, not phone calls. If you receive a suspicious call, hang up and authenticate the caller’s identity through official channels.
- Strengthen your online security: Keep your computer and devices protected with updated antivirus software and regularly patched operating systems. Use unique passwords for your online accounts, including tax-related portals, and enable two-factor authentication for added security.
- File taxes securely: Utilise trustworthy tax software or the official government gateway when filing electronically. Avoid using public Wi-Fi networks for transmitting sensitive tax information. Opt for a secure and private internet connection to safeguard your data.
- Monitor financial statements: Regularly review your bank accounts and credit reports for any signs of suspicious activity. Report any discrepancies to your financial institution immediately to halt any potential identity theft.
- Stay informed about tax scams: Educate yourself about common tax scams and stay updated on current tactics used by cybercriminals. Government departments and reputable cybersecurity organisations often provide alerts on emerging scams. Rely on official sources for accurate information.
- Seek professional assistance: Consider using a reputable tax preparer or accounting service. Verify their credentials and read reviews before sharing your financial information. Legitimate professionals follow strict privacy and security measures to protect your data.
By following these practices, you can safeguard your financial information and reduce the risk of falling victim to tax-related scams. Stay informed, remain cautious, and take secure measures when communicating with HMRC.
If you would like to discuss a specific tax matter with a member of our team, contact us today.