Contractors, specifically those working as sole traders or through limited companies, have been issued a warning by HMRC regarding the increase in Phishing scams.
Phishing, a term used to describe the sending of malicious emails, is a method in which people falsely claim to be from a company or other official organisation in order to trick the receiver into sending sensitive information to them which they can then exploit.
According to HMRC, Cybercriminals have been targeting taxpayers, using false email accounts and offering them promises of tax refunds.
The emails tell the recipient that they are entitled to receive a refund, and that they simply need to reply to the message with their bank details.
Chief Executive of HMRC, Lesley Straith, confirmed that “We only ever contact customers who are due a refund in writing by post.
“We never use emails, telephone calls or external companies in these circumstances. I would strongly encourage anyone receiving such an email to immediately send it to us for investigation and delete it from their computer.”
HMRC stressed that anyone who receives such an email and replies runs the risk of Cybercriminals stealing their bank details, credit card information and even their identity.
This is not the first time that HMRC have issued such warnings. In January, warnings were made of a phishing scam appearing in the run-up to the online self-assessment tax return deadline.