Online tax scams are reaching a high level with cybercriminals deliberately scheming to ensure victims complete information requested to compromise personal details. The main targets of the scams are self-employed individuals, consumers and small businesses. Well-designed phishing schemes are portrayed as content from tax office. For instance, recently cybercriminals have been benefitting from the HMRC email scam which sends a bogus email asking the recipient to create a “government gateway account” to access their sensitive information such as personal banking details and information about tax refunds.
Online fraud is rising rapidly making cyber fraud one of most common crimes within the UK.
TechDecoded wants to grow awareness of this form of cybercrime among consumers and businesses by outlining online scams and educating cyber users on how to avoid phishing schemes. Below is a summary compiled by TechDecoded of the main existing online scams:
Apps – Online and Mobile applications are being targeted by cybercriminals to convince vulnerable victims into downloading malicious malware or revealing sensitive information. For example, a fraudulent app can contain malware or access information which is sent to fraudsters.
Social Media – Cybercriminals are targeting social media users in well organised phishing campaigns that encourage a user to click a compromised link or visit a website which manipulates the victim in revealing personal information.
Emails – As explained through the HMRC email example above, cybercriminals are using emails to scam cyber users in any way possible.
TechDecoded recommends the following tips to avoid being victim of online scams:
- Complete your tax return via legitimate sources. Either through a professional accountant or using the genuine HMRC website which is verified by the SSL certificate(Tip: Look for https://)
Avoid clicking any email links to complete any business or personal tax related details. Visit genuine website by entering URL’s in the browser.
- Before giving sensitive information ensure you have contacted your bank or HMRC through genuine approaches and research their details. Avoid following email or social media links.
- Avoid clicking on email attachments and links. Furthermore, avoid downloading attachments from unknown websites.
- Avoid giving bank credentials and sensitive information to suspicious websites. Always check the authenticity of a website or email before disclosing personal information
- .Keep your security software updated to allow prompt detection of malware.