With the tax deadline just passed we thought it would be a good time to remind you all to be aware of fraudulent e-mails or telephone calls which appear to be on the increase in the digital world that we all now live in and these can have a devastating effect on businesses and the individuals involved.
If you do receive an e-mail which appears to be from a “legitimate source” you should always be suspicious if it is asking for you to divulge personal or private information, or perhaps requesting you to make an urgent transfer to a supplier – particularly where new bank details are provided for the payment.
Here are a few simple tips on how to spot a suspicious email
- When you receive an email you should check it for signs that it may not be from the company it appears to be from. To check this you can use your mouse to hover the cursor over the senders name / e-mail address or right-click on the sender name and you should see the email address behind it.
- Check the email address itself carefully. Is it the same as the email address you usually receive emails from, or just similar?
- The message within the e-mail isn’t personalised or uses the wrong name or contains poor spelling or grammar. You may also notice that the e-mail is not written in the usual “tone” as you would expect.
- Check the email subject line; anything along the lines of “There is a secure message waiting for you”, “Security Alert”, “System Upgrade” and so on should be treated as suspect.
- Look for a prompt to click on a hyperlink or a button, or to download a file – something like “Verify your account or password” or “update your security details”. These will likely take you to a copycat website where you will be prompted to enter your full details. To verify hyperlinks simply open a new tab and do a quick search within a new tab for the company or organisation. Click on their website and then compare the URL addresses.
- Be suspicious of any message that creates a sense of urgency, such as “If you don’t respond within 48 hours, your account will be closed”. A legitimate company will not create a false sense of urgency.
- Finally and most importantly, where you do receive a request to make an urgent payment to a supplier, member of staff or anyone else – please always pick up the phone or go and speak to the person making the request and verify this in person to ensure it is genuine.
Remember, never respond to any suspicious emails and don’t click on any links or attachments within them. Also consider reviewing your internal procedures to assist in stopping the effects of any emails that do get through here
Bogus phone calls
We have recently became aware of clients receiving calls from individuals claiming to be from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) advising you that they have not received a payment of tax / VAT or PAYE and that this is now overdue.
During the call they will appear genuine however please be cautious of anyone asking for your bank or credit card information over the phone. If you are unsure at all it would be our advice to end the call immediately and to contact HMRC, using the correct contact information direct from their website, to verify the situation. You may notice during a “bogus phone call” that the caller is applying pressure to get personal information from you.