UKA correspondentTuesday 10 October 2017

HMRC takes over 75 scam websites

Department claims its cyber security team has averted more than 1 million visits to sites levelling charges to link to its services

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has said its cyber team has roped in more than 75 scam websites linked to its services since January and averted over a million visits, including those which promote misleading and costly helpline numbers.

The team has been targeting sites that deceive people into connecting callers to their own numbers at heavy prices and sometimes charge for forwarding information to the department when it could be done free of charge.

It has taken control over the websites by challenging their ownership. Any members of the public trying to access them will now be redirected to HMRC’s GOV.UK pages, which provide its genuine contact numbers as well as advice on how to spot the scam sites.

Angela MacDonaldHMRC’s director for customer services, Angela MacDonald (pictured), 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.”

The department said it is also combating other types of scams. It has requested the removal of over 20,000 malicious websites in the past year, and published information on how to spot them.

Image from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0