Protect yourself from fake HMRC

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Most of the communications that you receive from HMRC come in form of electronic communication and transactions, as they are a key part of HMRC. While there are advantages of using this mode of communication and transaction, there can be some serious risks attached with it, too.

HMRC understands this, and is committed to your security and will do its best to protect you from fraudsters and scammers. However, it is not that easy. In order to avoid yourself of becoming a victim of online fraud, you will have to take certain security measures.

Here are some tips to protect yourself:

Create a strong password – This is your strongest and most powerful defense against cyber attacks. They should be:

  • At least eight characters long
  • Should not contain your user name, real name, or your company name
  • Should not contain a complete word, e.g. beautiful or strong or competitive etc
  • Should be significantly different from any of your previous passwords
  • Should contain each one i.e. upper case letter, lower case letter, number and symbols found on your keyboard
  • Create an acronym from an easy-to-remember piece of information. For example, pick a phrase that is meaningful to you, such as My son’s birthday is 12 December, 2004. Using that phrase as your guide, you might use Msbi12/Dec,4 for your password.
  • Substitute numbers, symbols, and misspellings for letters or words in an easy-to-remember phrase. For example, My son’s birthday is 12 December, 2004 could become Mi$un’s Brthd8iz 12124 (it’s OK to use spaces in your password).
  • Relate your password to a favorite hobby or sport. For example, I love to play badminton could become [email protected] ()n

If you feel you must write down your password in order to remember it, make sure you don’t label it as your password, and keep it in a safe place.

Unsolicited emails

Be suspicious of unsolicited emails, even if they look like they’re from a trusted source. HMRC will never send notifications of a tax rebate by email, or ask you to disclose personal or payment information by email.

HMRC will never send notifications of a tax rebate, or ask you to disclose personal or payment information by email. If you have any doubt that an email you receive from HMRC is genuine, please do not follow any links, disclose any personal details or respond to it. Please forward it to HMRC at [email protected]  then delete it.

Please be aware that HMRC are unable to investigate paper copies of phishing emails/websites. In order for HMRC to take any action, you will need to forward the original phishing email to the email address provided.

There are many other ways to protect yourself apart from the ones listed above. You can read more ways to protect on HMRC online.

Source: HMRC, Microsoft

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