Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Latest warning from HMRC: If it smells a bit phishy…

Ever been caught out hook, line and sinker?

We may not admit it publicly but we’ve all encountered a Bighead or Bigmouth.

How about a Fathead, Flathead or Sarcastic Fringehead? Forehead Brooder or Southern Flounder?

Then there’s the Dusky Groupers, Three-Toothed Puffers and Chubsuckers. And not to mention the occasional Aholehole

It’s why we should be on our guard.

Phishing scams are everywhere, and taxpayers are no exception. They’re more than just unwanted email messages; they allow criminals to exploit members of the public to gain access to your personal and financial data, which can lead to fraud and identity theft.

Thankfully though, HMRC has brought in new controls to combat this and reported they’ve reached a milestone in reducing the estimated 500 million phishing emails that are sent to taxpayers every year.

Whereas, previously, fraudsters could make HMRC phishing emails look more authentic (by making them appear as if they’d come from a genuine HMRC domain – most commonly @HMRC.gov.uk.), they’re now much easier to spot due to the new DMARC security system: Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance.

As a result, HMRC has already significantly reduced the number of phishing emails that reach taxpayers by 300 million.

And whilst this doesn’t mean an end to HMRC-based phishing, taxpayers should notice less of it; and those emails that do get through the ‘net’ might not look as legitimate.

Even so, still be particularly cautious if you know anyone called Alfonsino, Ray or Mora; Jack Dempsey, John Dory or Tommy Ruff. Do beware any Olive Flounders, Nurse Sharks, Pirate Perches and Queen Danios.

And remain just as wary if you receive anything from someone purporting to be an Emperor, Sergeant Major or Flier; Cobbler, Sweeper or Stargazer. Even Tailors, Trumpeters and Squeakers shouldn’t be let off the hook lightly. Oh, and anyone claiming to be a Warty Angler.

Let’s just hope that these new measures don’t inconvenience those interested in receiving genuine fishing-related communications.

Until next month...