HMRC helping to fight cybercrime

As part of its ongoing crackdown on cybercrime, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) claims to have commandeered as many as 75 ‘deceptive websites’.

The Revenue claims that it has successfully prevented more than one million visits to ‘dubious sites’ which it says are unlawfully posing as HMRC or encouraging visitors to contact incorrect or misleading telephone helpline numbers as part of a costly scam.

In many instances, fraudsters are promoting premium rate, non-HMRC numbers as a means of reaching the department, it said.

“These are in fact call forwarding services which connect callers to HMRC, but at a hefty price, despite HMRC’s own 0300 numbers being free or charged at the national landline rate,” the tax authority explained in a recent press release.

According to reports, HMRC’s cyber security team has taken control of 75 such sites and is now able to automatically redirect taxpayers to its own web pages.

The Revenue also claims that it continues to combat “other types of scams that customers are being targeted by.”

Within the last year, HMRC has reportedly requested the removal of some 20,000 ‘malicious websites’.

Angela MacDonald, Director for Customer Services as HMRC, said: “HMRC takes the abuse of its brand very seriously. Attempts to dupe customers in this way won’t be tolerated and we will always act to protect the public from malicious or misleading websites.”