I’m sure we’ve all come across a scam or two before but it is becoming increasingly more common to be targeted by fake companies trying to get you to part with your hard earned money. So here are our safety tips to avoid being scammed.
What scams do I need to be aware of?
The technique is called phishing and it’s a way for criminals to extract personal information to be used fraudulently. This might be personal details or they might head straight for the jugular and take your bank details!
Unfortunately we’ve now heard several stories lately where people have been targeted by someone claiming to be from HMRC so I just wanted to give you a few tips to help avoid falling into their trap!
The most common way to be contacted by these people is by email. And I know we’ve heard it all before but it’s worth repeating, never click on a link in an email! These links are most likely to be fake and will take you off to a fake website where you are asked to fill in your details. Take a look at the email address it has been sent from, if it’s a bit bizarre or has a spelling mistake then it’s unlikely to be authentic.
If however, you do recognise the company they are purporting to be from, head to the company website and get in contact that way to check the information in the email. Don’t use any phone numbers given in the email either as these are unlikely to be the real numbers.
The other way you might come across this phishing technique is by receiving a phone call.
First off HMRC will never ask you to make payment over the phone. In fact I think most companies would not do this these days, so if you are ever asked to make a payment over the phone, don’t! Stop and check.
For HMRC, the best way to do this is to head to your government gateway account on gov.uk. There are different areas for self-assessment and PAYE etc so you can see exactly how much money you owe (if you owe any that is) and can make payment through the website if necessary. It’s much more secure and you are in control!
And if you are still not sure then please ask your accountant to double check!
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