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COVID-19: HMRC warns about scam emails and texts

31 March: Digital scammers are using coronavirus support measures to target individuals with bogus emails and texts claiming to be from HMRC.

HMRC has updated its list of phishing emails and bogus contact to include a number of coronavirus-related scams.

As the details of government COVID-19 packages for businesses and employees are still being finalised, opportunists are sending scam communications pretending to offer financial support.

One known example is an email scam offering a tax refund to help protect themselves from the coronavirus outbreak, another is a text message scam offering a goodwill payment. HMRC also refers to a text scam that asks recipients to call a phone number to appeal against a fine for leaving their house more than once.

HMRC has sent out its own email highlighting these scams, warning: “If someone gets in touch claiming to be from HMRC, saying that financial help can be claimed or that a tax refund is owed, and asks you to click on a link or to give information, such as your name, credit card or bank details, please do not respond.”

ICAEW urges anyone who believes they are entitled to support, but is unclear how to proceed, to ensure that they work with a reputable agent that is known to them.