HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has issued a warning after recent research found that email phishing scams have increased by 75 per cent since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
367,250 reports of email phishing attacks have been reported this year, while there were also more than 200,000 phone scams and 59,000 text message scams reported to HMRC.
Fraudsters are also purporting to be from HMRC, advising individuals and businesses that VAT is overdue from their return, which has been automatically deferred until March 2021.
Scammers will often put pressure on individuals to request payment or personal details, but HMRC is reminding people to be vigilant when contacted by anybody claiming to be from a business or organisation.
You should never click on any links or attachments in a suspicious email. Fraudsters can spoof email addresses to make the display name appear legitimate, but if you are unsure you can contact the genuine company or organisation and delete the email.
Individuals are also being reminded to ensure that they research any company or person that they are purchasing from if you’re unfamiliar with them, particularly in the lead up to Christmas. If you decide to purchase anything, you should use a credit card if possible, as most major providers insure online purchases.
If you receive a phone call are you are unsure of its legitimacy, end the call and go to the official website, such as HMRC, and contact them directly on their listed number to ensure that you don’t reveal any personal data.