Text message scammers stopped by HMRC

HMRC has published a news release to explain how they are working to stop taxpayers receiving fraudulent text messages from reaching their phones. Scammers have been found to be using text message or SMS phishing scams to contact taxpayers.

These scams have been increasing as fraudulent text messages can appear more legitimate than fraudulent emails. Research has found that people are 9 times more likely to fall for text message scams than other forms like email with many texts displaying ‘HMRC’ as the sender, rather than a phone number.

HMRC has been working with public and private partners to combat these text messages. New technology has been developed that identifies texts with ‘tags’ that fraudulently suggest they are from HMRC and stops them from being delivered. Since a pilot rollout of the technology began in April 2017, there has reportedly been a 90% reduction in these fraudulent text messages.

HMRC has also confirmed that it never sends details of a tax rebate or asks taxpayers to disclose personal or payment information by text. This should act as a warning to taxpayers that receive a suspect text message. It is also important to keep a look out for emails and texts with spelling mistakes and poor grammar and be suspicious of any attachments.

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