Remain vigilant - Don't fall victim to a Covid-19 scam

Alex Harrington
Tax, News, COVID-19
Laptop user

We are currently residing in a period where many in society are feeling particularly vulnerable, whether this be due to the threat of potential ill health or financial insecurity.

Laptop user

At points in time such as these criminals seek to take advantage by preying on the resultant fears and insecurities of individuals.

It is therefore important that you remain as vigilant as possible in spotting potential scams- especially given the seemingly apparent authenticity and realism a lot of these convey to unsuspecting targets. The clever and emotive nature of these campaigns can leave even the most scrupulous and diligent of individuals open to attack at the hands of scam-artists.

HMRC have recently published the following examples of what to look out for:

Email scams

Phishing emails which coerce individuals into disclosing personal details such as passwords or bank details have been received by some. These can often be under the guise of issuing a tax refund to ‘protect yourself against Covid-19’. It is important to scrutinise the legitimacy of emails as thoroughly as possible in order to spot fraudulent attempts.

These emails will often include spoof email addresses and disguise display names to convey legitimacy.  

It is important you do not respond to these emails, click on any links contained therein, open any attachments or disclose any personal details.

HMRC will never email you regarding a tax refund, therefore if you receive one please adhere to the above guidance, forward the email to HMRC (, and then delete it.

Text message scams

HMRC have also highlighted that fraudsters are utilising text messages to advise individuals they can claim a Coronavirus ‘goodwill payment’.

Often messages will contain the following:

‘As Part of the NHS promise to battle the COV- 19virus, HMRC has issued a payment of £258 as a goodwill payment. Follow link to apply’.

Again, it is crucial that you do not to respond to the message, click on any links contained or to disclose any personal details. Deleting the message thereafter.

Another trick utilised includes a text message advising the recipient that they are to be fined for leaving their house more than once.

An example is below:  

Under no circumstances should the telephone number be called, and all aforementioned advice should be followed.

Remember HMRC will not ask you for any personal details via text message. Any suspicious text messages can be forwarded to HMRC via 60599 (network charges apply), and should be deleted thereafter.  

For further guidance on what to look out for, please visit the government website or speak to us.

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