HMRC will be first Government department to crack down on ‘phishing scams’

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) will be the first Government department to crack down on so-called ‘phishing scams’, following reports of a rise in fraudulent emails purporting to be from the Revenue and tricking taxpayers into releasing sensitive information.

The news comes shortly after Chancellor Philip Hammond announced that the Government would invest some £1.9billion in improving cyber security.

He said: “If we want Britain to be the best place in the world to be a tech business then it is also crucial that Britain is a safe place to do digital business”.

HMRC, which will introduce and implement what it calls ‘domain-based message authentication, reporting and conformance’ (Dmarc), hopes to block some 500 million phishing emails by being the first Government department to crack down on cybercrime.

In collaboration with the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), the tax authority will implement Dmarc for all UK public sector bodies in a bid to eliminate all malicious emails that ‘appear to come from Government’, according to reports.

Edward Tucker, head of HMRC cyber security, said: “With Dmarc, we can now stop almost all of the [500 million phishing emails a year seen in 2014 and 2015] from ever reaching our customers’ inboxes.

“To be able to have such a dramatic effect in reducing the threat to our customers [would be] a huge achievement,” he added.