Latest News | 28 February 2024

IT firm issues warning over HMRC tax scams

True MSP Limited
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Experts at IT service provider True MSP have warned the public to be on ‘high alert’ after HM Revenue and Customs confirmed that more than 200,000 tax scams had been reported.

As scams become more sophisticated, assisted by a rise in AI technology, True MSP believes that new opportunities have opened up to cyber criminals who could be looking for ways to access bank accounts.

The warning comes at a peak time of the year, as cyber criminals are increasingly using AI to trick people into believing they are due a tax rebate following the self-assessment deadline at the end of January.

The people being targeted are led to believe the scam email has been sent by HMRC and, if they open any links, they are inadvertently revealing a host of personal details to the scammers.

Neil Shaw, director at True MSP said: “HMRC’s reporting system highlights just how important it is for Derbyshire residents and business owners to be on high alert.

“The rise of AI means criminals can target more people with less effort.

“It’s becoming a serious problem and could affect hundreds of thousands of people in the county.

“Nationally, more than 11.5 million people submitted a tax return ahead of last month’s deadline, which potentially opens the door to a whole range of opportunities for fraudsters and cyber criminals.”

Such phishing scams are designed to use personal details for selling on to criminals, or to access people’s bank accounts.

HMRC responded to 207,800 referrals from the public of suspicious contact in the past year to January – up 14% from the 181,873 reported for the previous 12 months. More than 79,000 of those referrals offered bogus tax rebates.

HMRC has stated it will not e-mail, text or phone a customer to tell them that they are due a refund or ask them to request a refund.

Customers receive repayments into their chosen bank account, and can see any transactions in their online HMRC account and in the HMRC app.

Kelly Paterson, HMRC’s chief security officer, said: “With the deadline for tax returns behind us, criminals will now try to trick people with fake offers of tax rebates.

“Scammers will attempt to dupe people by e-mail, phone or texts that mimic government messages to make them appear authentic.

“Don’t rush into anything, take your time and check HMRC scams advice on http://GOV.UK .”

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