Possible VAT scam email
A possible VAT scam email has been brought to our attention originating from the formation of a company, the details of which have been extracted from Companies House for the purposes of sending out a scam email. Information on the characteristics of such emails and what to do if you encounter one is set out below.
Characteristics of Fraudulent Emails
Action Fraud (the UK’s national fraud reporting centre) highlight that fake emails often (but not always) display some of the following characteristics:
- the sender’s email address doesn’t tally with the trusted organisation’s website address;
- the email is sent from a completely different address or a free web mail address;
- the email does not use your proper name, but uses a non-specific greeting like ‘dear customer’;
- a sense of urgency; for example the threat that unless you act immediately your account may be closed;
- a prominent website link. These can be forged or seem very similar to the proper address, but even a single character’s difference means a different website;
- a request for personal information such as user name, password or bank details;
- the email contains spelling and grammatical errors;
- you weren't expecting to get an email from the company that appears to have sent it;
- the entire text of the email is contained within an image rather than the usual text format; and
- the image contains an embedded hyperlink to a bogus site.
If you are ever unsure as to whether a message is legitimate, you can contact Action Fraud for clarification at 0300 123 2040 or online at: https://reportfraud.actionfraud.org.uk/fraudreport/. Please do not follow any links in the email, open any attachments, disclose any details or respond to it.
HMRC have a specific page (http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/security/examples.htm) on their website that draws the attention of taxpayers and advisers to the many tax scams that are perpetrated using personal data. If you receive any of these emails please forward them to email@example.com, and then delete them.
16 November 2011