The Taxing Scammers

Posted by Paul Anderson Riley in Identity Theft on 1 November 2016 - Paul is a Credit Analyst at checkmyfile

Some people question paying taxes in the first place, so it’s no surprise that around 50,000 people a day are being targeted as a part of a tax refund scam in the UK. Personal details have been shared with scam artists pretending to be government officials claiming that a refund could be due.

This scam has been conducted via email, with a scammer mimicking domain names similar to that of the government. The domain has now been shut down. There are growing concerns around the UK’s ability to monitor cyber-attacks and scams, with current cyber defences coming under scrutiny. This reaffirms the need to be cautious when going through emails and unidentified correspondence.

Phillip Hammond has claimed that the UK is now working towards protecting itself against high-level attacks as he has now introduced a plan to strengthen the UK’s cyber security. The scheme will have £1.9bn funding and aims to tackle personal attacks for malicious purposes similar to when Twitter and PayPal were brought down in October.

Minister Ben Gummer says, “No longer the stuff of spy thrillers and action movies, cyber-attacks are a reality and they are happening now… Our adversaries are varied – organised criminal groups, 'hactivists', untrained teenagers and foreign states."

A global risk report by the World Economic Forum reveals that the current cost of cyber-crime to the globe is around £363bn (estimated). Online attacks and breaches are quickly becoming the biggest threats that modern day businesses and individuals have to deal with. Not only are the companies being targeted but the individual customer details of these companies are released in some attacks.

Public services are also at particular risk, as they will often hold large databases of personal data. A national crime unit has been promised 50 technical experts and investigators by the government and a look to educate and train even more.

If you believe that you have been the victim of a scam or have given personal details away to a scam artist unknowingly there a few basic steps you can take to monitor any unusual activities. Closely look at your bank and credit card statements to make sure you recognise all of the incoming and outgoing transactions. Any transactions you are unsure of contact the bank or credit provider and they will have a dedicated fraud team who will be able to look into this for you.

You could also check your credit report on a monthly basis to see what is being reported. Keeping an eye on the accounts in your name and the searches conducted will soon help you to notice if someone has been using your details to open agreements or apply for credit.

Finally, remain vigilant - do not release any personal details unless you are certain that the company contacting you are who they say they are. If you have any doubts about companies contacting you, do not give any personal details or click on any attachments if they are contacting you digitally.

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