Fraudulent email sent to Pandle regarding its trademark applicationBut don?t just expect phoney communication from those posing as government agencies. We also recently received a notice from a legitimate company requesting payment for a photo that we used on our website, flagging a copyright breach. We knew that the photo in question was used fairly and that the attempt was unfounded, but it came as a surprise to see that it?s not just individuals behind these phishing scam attempts, companies are too. As we?re an accounting practice, we also have fraudulent attempts aimed toward gaining our HMRC portal login codes so that criminals can target our clients. We?ve had to step up our security awareness measures to combat this. Overall, these scammers are giving British businesses a problem each could do without. Business owners should be spending their time focusing on their operations rather than trying to figure out if they owe money to a government body or not. This said, there are steps that you can take to reduce your chance of falling victim.
Avoid email linksIf an email asks for information regarding your taxes or finances, you can assume an ulterior motive is at play. Rather than clicking on the link in the email, manually type in the URL.
Don?t give in to an electronic requestInstead of paying via the form you?re guided to, go to HMRC?s website and check amounts owed and pay there.
Ask a professionalIf you have an accountant, tag them in. They?ll be able to spot a fake far quicker than you might, and they also have an overview of your accounts.
Go to the sourceIf you don?t have an accountant to go to the next best thing is to go straight to the source. Ask the company in question directly and find out if the request was real.
Update your techEnsure that you have the latest anti-virus software installed and effective spam filters. A no-brainer, but a simple solution that could save you big.
Set protocolsIf you have employees, ground rules need to be set for dealing with email and printed payment requests. Your staff should always be aware of the best practice and should never put the company?s finances at risk. Lee Murphy is the founder and CEO of Pandle. Have a look at other HMRC content:
- Revealed: HMRC?s ten most ridiculous self-assessment tax expense claims
- Tax body warns compliant small businesses could suffer from planned HMRC crackdown
- Going to miss the self-assessment deadline? Find out the excuses you will need
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