News from the UK Government that Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have requested the deletion of 20.750 malicious websites in the last 12 months.
Whilst they have taken great steps in the introduction of new security and technology to tackle cyber crime, HMRC have issued a warning to the public to be aware if the risks of responding to emails and using websites purportedly coming from or operated by HMRC and the dangers responding to online requests confirming that HMRC will never contact people asking;
- Your PIN
- Your Password
- Your Bank Details
- You to claim a tax refund either via email or by text
and and warning taxpayers not to respond to emails they were not expecting, download attachments or divulge private information.
As with other such phishing emails, you should always independently verify the contact number or email address provided in any email rather than relying on the information provided to you by potential criminals.
The record number of 20,750 fake sites represents an increase of 29% on the previous year and shows that whilst action is being taken against these criminals the threat is increasing.
Treasury Minister and MP for Central Devon, Mel Stride, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury said;
The criminals behind these scams prey on the public and abuse their trust in government. We’re determined to stop them.
HMRC is cracking down harder than ever, as these latest figures show. But we need the public’s help as well. By doing the right thing and reporting suspicious messages you will not only protect yourself, you will protect other potential victims.
On a more positive note, HMRC does state that there has been a 90% reduction in the number of people reporting sppof SMS messages apparently sent by HMRC. This follows the introduction of award wining innovative software that identifies phishing textx via tags relating to HMRC and preventing them from being delivered.
The DMARC system introduced in 2016 is a verification system that allows emails to be verified and ensure that they have come from a verified source. It is believed that this technology has prevented half a billion phishing emails from being delivered.