Scam emails from HMRC – Reported by 900,000 people

The Weekend FT has a small FT Money section which covers personal finance (rather than companies and markets). It often has articles which are relevant to one’s current or future circumstances, or cover aspects that a friend might find helpful. I was shocked to read on Saturday that Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs had purportedly sent out scamming texts and emails and made phone calls to 900,000 people – who had reported them – over the last year. Sounds to me that there could be an awful lot more.

Now, I know most of us think we’re clever and have, over the years, learnt to spot phishing and bogus pleas for loans for good causes. But this is criminal work on a vast scale. Of those who had contacted HMRC about suspicious behaviour, 620,000 were tempted by a tax rebate with banking and personal details to be entered into an identikit website look-alike. Nastier were the 100,000 phone calls threatening victims with arrest unless immediate tax demands were met; I’ve received a message like this in the last 12 months.

I have a feeling that perhaps the crooks might be targeting sole traders, the self-employed and small businesses because they probably don’t have the resources to pay for the advice they need – and phoning HMRC is a thankless task. The tax authority says: ‘’Customers (yes, I kid you not, I’m a customer as far as they’re concerned!) should never give out private information, reply to text messages, download attachments or click on links in texts or emails which they are not expecting’’.

I write this now, and they too are currently highlighting the issue, as the tax deadline on January 31st looms, when so many are rushed, frazzled and fearful. I’m also aware that many STA members are in my boat, self-employed, running small research houses and dealing with their own investments on which they must pay tax.

If you suspect you’ve been scammed, this is their dedicated helpline: Phishing@nullhmrc.gov.uk

If you’ve lost money should contact Action Fraud http://www.actionfraud.org.uk/report_fraud/

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The views and opinions expressed on the STA’s blog do not necessarily represent those of the Society of Technical Analysts (the “STA”), or of any officer, director or member of the STA.

The STA makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of any information on the blog or found by following any link on blog, and none of the STA, STA Administrative Services or any current or past executive board members are liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use.

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About Nicole Elliott

Nicole Elliott

A graduate of the London School of Economics and Political Science (BSc Social Psychology) Nicole Elliott has worked in banks in the City of London for the last 30 years. Whether in sales, trading or forecasting technical analysis has always been the bedrock of her thinking. Key expertise lies within all areas of treasury: foreign exchange, money markets, fixed income and commodities.

She has also added to the body of knowledge of the industry writing the first western book on Ichimoku Cloud Charts. Strong media links and a cult following are due to her prescient calls on the markets and often entertaining format.

Nicole can be contacted at trending@sta-uk.org

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