Internet SCAMS: Digital communication is safer when you understand how Internet rackets work.
Website fraud and misleading websites can be annoying and risky business for the unwary.
Learn how to avoid and outline Internet scams or phishing emails.
You should always report any misleading or dubious Internet activity. That includes emails, websites, phone calls, text messages, and numbers.
Legitimate companies rarely ask for private information by email or phone. Never offer your bank details or personal passwords on a public Internet system. Download attachments, click web links, and reply to text messages only if you are sure they are genuine.
How to Deal with Misleading Websites (phone numbers)
Misleading website names or phone numbers need careful scrutiny. They may mislead you with their association to an official government website or service.
Some sites and phone numbers intentionally deceive you into a risky ‘click through’. Often they claim to provide more help than they do in reality.
One of the dangers with misleading websites is paying for services that would usually be free. Deception and confusion are their strengths. It is always worth checking to see whether you can get the service or product cheaper or free elsewhere.
For Example: Many services are free on the official government website GOV.UK (e.g. renewing a passport). You can also report a misleading website or distrustful phone number to:
HMRC Phishing Emails, Tax Scams, Text Messages
What is Phishing?
Phishing is a fraudulent act. Emailing people to get their personal or financial information are phishing activities. The wrongdoers are looking to obtain passwords, credit card info, or bank account details.
Note: Phishing emails often contain a hyperlink to a bogus website. You are usually encouraged to enter sensitive or private information if you click the web link.
HMRC is Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. It is a fact that HMRC never use emails or text messaging to:
- Inform individuals about a tax rebate or a penalty.
- Request your personal details or payment information.
HM Revenue and Customs has a guide with details on recognizing Phishing and scams. Find out how HMRC keeps your private information safe online. You should forward any suspicious emails to [[email protected]]. You can also forward suspicious text messages to 60599.
Note: Your text message will be charged at your network rate.
Reporting Disclosure of Personal Details (HMRC)
Be cautious about giving any private information in replies to suspicious email or text. Sensitive information includes you name and address, security password, or HMRC User ID. Send brief details to HMRC of what you disclosed. Do not give your personal details in the email to HM Revenue and Customs.
Contact HMRC at [[email protected]].
Coronavirus Pandemic Scams
The video explains more on fighting text and email scams during the Coronavirus pandemic and how to protect yourself against tax scams and phishing
How to Avoid Phishing Malware Email
The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has the following advice to avoid becoming a victim.
- Do not click on links or open any attachments you receive in unsolicited emails or SMS messages. Remember that fraudsters can ‘spoof’ an email address to make it look like one used by someone you trust. If you are unsure, check the email header to identify the true source of communication.
- Always install software updates as soon as they become available. Whether you are updating the operating system or an application, the update will often include fixes for critical security vulnerabilities.
- Create regular backups of your important files to an external hard drive, memory stick or online storage provider. It is important that the device you back up to is not left connected to your computer as any malware infection could spread to that as well.
Report Visa Scams and Immigration Scammers
The UK Visa and Immigration service will never ask you to pay for a visa using cash or by money transfer. You should contact Action Fraud to report visa and immigration scams. Include as much detail as possible but make sure to include:
- A copy of the suspicious email you received, the email address of the sender, and the time and date you received it.
- The details of what you sent in any reply (e.g. your address, bank details, or password).
Note: You can report untrustworthy communication such as emails, phone calls, and letters to the police through Action Fraud. They are the national reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime in the United Kingdom. Contact them if you experience cyber crime, are defrauded, or have been scammed.