We are in the middle of the biggest crisis our country has seen in decades, and for the majority of us, we are all working together to get through this.
However this has created a new danger with cybercriminals looking to exploit our fears or to scam us financially. You may receive emails or texts claiming to be from legitimate organisations such as Direct Gov or HMRC claiming cash is available just by “clicking here” or which has an attachment with supposed new health advice.
This may lead to malicious software being downloaded or alternatively it takes you to a bogus website where financial information will be requested.
To stay safe, we recommend some of the following:
Beware of online requests for personal information
Legitimate government agencies won’t ask for personal information.
Check the email address or link
Hover the mouse over the email address or link and inspect carefully where it may lead, be aware these links may resemble the real thing.
Watch for spelling and grammatical mistakes
Often, although not always, if there are errors, it may be bogus.
Avoid any communication that insists you act now
Anything designed to create a sense of urgency can heighten panic, and makes you can act in ways you wouldn’t do under normal circumstances.
You can report anything suspicious to HMRC’s phishing team – for example:
- Forward text messages to 60599 – you will be charged at your network rate
- Forward emails to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you think you have fallen victim and disclosed personal details such as HMRC user ID or password then email security@email@example.com giving brief details of what you have disclosed but do not include specific personal details.
If you receive anything that you are unsure, go to the website that the email is purporting to come from in a new browser and check for yourself.
As always please contact your usual manager at Whiting & Partners for additional advice or support who will be happy to assist you.