9am Lowdown: It's HMRC phishing season!

Practice correspondent
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Good morning, here’s the 9AM Lowdown.

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It’s HMRC phishing season!

Almost half of people surveyed by digital authentication provider MIRACL say they’ve received phishing emails which claim to be from HMRC.

Of the 1000 people polled, a fifth of those surveyed, or their close friends or family, have been the victim of data theft or identity fraud.

Commenting on the result, Brian Spector, CEO at MIRACL, said: “Consumers are surprisingly laid back about the potential risks of filling in their tax returns online. It’s true that you could lose money if your financial details were stolen while online shopping, but the volume of data involved in filling out a tax return online makes this a far greater risk.

“With all the financial data involved in a tax return, a criminal could potentially take out a mortgage in your name. Data theft and identity fraud is a multi-billion dollar business on the dark web, and so consumers must be vigilant.”

Bull cautions over Brexit

George Bull, a senior partner at RSM, has warned not enough has been done to analyse the consequences of Brexit.

“Emotionally and instinctively driven positions are emerging, but I haven’t seen a decent briefing paper emerge from the Government on any aspect of the vote,” said Bull.

“This is completely the wrong way for any serious debate to be conducted.”

Bull added: “I don’t think people in individual camps are doing anything to present a balanced view. If you were going to make a decision that would affect you for the rest of your life, you would want to do it with the benefit of a few facts.”

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Tax agency loses 50,000 citizens’ records

Data loss strikes across the pond. Ohio's Regional Income Tax Agency (RITA) confessed to losing a backup DVD with information and documents on 50,000 individuals.

RITA discovered the loss on 10 November 2015, but waited until 31 December to drip out the news. The disc contained copies of income tax documents, as well as names, addresses, social security numbers.

RITA  was preparing a backup of DVDs for destruction when it noticed that one of the cases was empty, the agency revealed in a statement. The backups had been stored offsite at a "third-party vendor's secure facility."

RITA’s bungle conjures flashbacks to HMRC’s child benefit claimants’ data loss.  

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On the phishing front

I've had two client's report scams, which they tell me are extremely authentic, at first glance.

It's also sad to say that Aweb's had its fair share of "spoilers" in the last few days.

Although the internet brings myriad opportunities, it's also a strange play area for some people.

 

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06th Jan 2016 11:51

Phishing
Was pleasantly surprised to receive an email claiming to come "from HMRC" advising me that I am due a tax rebate.

And that just few days after I have submitted my own SATR and received a tax bill to pay.

Was so close wanting to believe scammers.

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