HMRC’s Tax Agent Blog provides a useful reminder of how you can play your part in keeping your data secure online by using a strong password.
Use strong and separate passwords
- don’t use the same password over multiple systems
- choose something that’s not easy to guess; such as three random words or a combination of letters and numbers in your password
- don’t use words or dates that are related to you or your family, e.g. birthdays, children’s names, pets’ names in your password.
- keep your password private – don’t share it with colleagues
- immediately change your password if you suspect it has been compromised
- don’t use a variation of your old password when changing it
- use two-step verification when available.
- Change your password on a regular basis.
Beware of misleading websites
Scammers create websites that look similar to HMRC’s official site and then direct the public to call numbers with extortionate costs, instead of the low cost and no cost service HMRC provides. These sites promote non-HMRC premium rate phone numbers as a means of reaching HMRC but are merely call forwarding services, which connect callers to HMRC at a significant price.
Always check GOV.UK for genuine contact numbers.
Beware of phishing emails/texts/calls
- Recognise the signs – genuine organisations like banks and HMRC will never contact you out of the blue to ask for your PIN, password or bank details
- Stay safe – don’t give out private information, reply to text messages, download attachments or click on links in emails you weren’t expecting
- Take action if you think something’s wrong
- emails – forward to email@example.com
- texts – forward to 60599
- suspicious phone calls – email us at the above address with as much detail as possible – caller number (dial 1471, the number displayed could be spoofed), date of call and a brief description
- if you have suffered financial loss contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use their online fraud reporting tool
- check GOV.UK for information on how to avoid and report scams and recognise genuine HMRC contact.
Protect your devices
- always install software and app updates
- install anti-virus protection and keep it up to date