March 30 2016.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has issued updated guidance on how to recognise phishing emails and text messages. As well as spelling mistakes and poor grammar, there are a number of things that can help you to identify a phishing/bogus email.

Look out for a sender’s email address that is similar to, but not the same as, HMRC’s email addresses. Fraudsters often have email accounts with HMRC or revenue names in them, such as  ‘’. These email addresses are used to mislead you.

However, be aware, fraudsters can falsify the ‘from’ address to look like a legitimate HMRC address, for example ‘’.

If you’re not one hundred per cent sure, don’t open it. If you do open the email and you’re in doubt don’t click on any links or downloads.

Emails from HMRC will never;
1. Notify you of a tax rebate
2. Offer you a repayment
3. Ask you to disclose personal information such as your full address, postcode, Unique Taxpayer Reference or details of your bank account
4. Give a non HMRC personal email address to send a response to
5. Ask for financial information such as specific figures or tax computations, unless you’ve given us prior consent and you have formally accepted the risks
6. Have attachments, unless you have given prior consent and you have formally accepted the risks
7. Provide a link to a secure log-in page or a form asking for information - instead we will ask you to log on to your online account to check for information

Fraudsters often include links to webpages that look like the homepage of the HMRC website. This is to trick you into disclosing personal/confidential information. Just because the page may look genuine, does not mean it is. Bogus webpages often contain links to banks/building societies, or display fields and boxes requesting your personal information such as passwords, credit card or bank account details.

You should be aware that fraudsters sometimes include genuine links to HMRC web pages in their emails, this is to try and make their emails appear genuine.

Fraudsters often send high volumes of phishing emails in one go so even though they may have your email address, they seldom have your name. Be cautious of emails sent with a generic greeting such as ‘Dear Customer’.

Finally, be cautious of attachments as these could contain viruses designed to steal your personal information.

CLICK HERE for more information.