HMRC recently updated its guidance on recognising bogus calls. The guidance is entitled “Genuine HMRC contact and recognising phishing emails.”

The guidance includes information on how to tell if emails are fraudulent, the HMRC Short Message Service (SMS) text messages, the current list of digital and other issues that HMRC might contact taxpayers about, and how to report phishing or bogus emails to HMRC.

HMRC has been contacting taxpayers on a number of matters from 24th October. It will be sending out letters to individuals who receive tax credits, and it will be advising those individuals that they can take part in a short telephone survey on how changes are reported. Calls will come from a private number and will be completed by 9th December.

In addition to HMRC, a company called Concentrix will be working with HMRC to check that individuals are receiving the correct tax credits. This means that some letters will not only have the HMRC logo but also the Concentrix logo. Individuals will not be asked at any point to give their personal details (for example, bank account numbers).

Employer bulletins will also be sent out via email. These messages will be marked “important information for employers.” Again, there will be no request for personal information. Other emails will be about VAT or debt management.

To recognise fraudulent emails, individuals should check the email addresses being used. Fraudsters often use email addresses that are similar to, but slightly different from, the real addresses. For example, the email address “refunds@hmrc.org.uk” has been used.

Many fraudsters will try to pressure individuals into action by saying that there is a limited time in which to reply.