Shropshire business owners should not allow the promise of a tax rebate to entice them into clicking on suspicious emails in their inbox.
Martyn Bramwell, from Dyke Yaxley Chartered Accountants, in Shrewsbury, said fraudsters were currently using emails and SMS messages to target business owners.
“The email declares that the business owner is due a tax rebate from HM Revenue and Customs, in a bid to trick them into disclosing their personal and banking details.
“But HMRC has said it will only ever inform taxpayers of any tax refunds by post or through the employer’s payroll – any emails, text messages or voicemail messages you may receive that promise a refund are fake and should be reported.”
Martyn said many of the fraudulent emails and texts contained links to websites that steal personal information, so taxpayers should not reply to the message, or click on any links or download attachments.
“Criminals are known to take advantage of important events in HMRC’s calendar, such as the end of the financial year, an approaching self-assessment deadline, and the issuing of tax refunds, to start sending out phishing emails and texts.”
Martyn said HMRC was currently processing tax refunds for tax returns covering the period from April 6, 2017, to April 5, 2018.
“If you are due a genuine tax refund, a letter showing your tax calculation and details on how to get your refund will be sent by post between the months of June and October.
“And if you haven’t paid enough tax, HMRC will again send details of your tax calculations and instructions on how to make a payment in a letter by post – this could be a P800 form or a Simple Assessment letter.
“HMRC is advising taxpayers to look out for the signs that an email or text message may be from a fraudster, and remember that legitimate organisations will never ask for your PIN, password or bank details.
“Make sure you stay safe and never give out your personal details or reply to any messages you were not expecting.”
Martyn said HMRC also asked taxpayers to forward any suspicious emails to firstname.lastname@example.org and questionable texts to 60599.