Is that contact a Christmas time scam?

Christmas time scam attempts increase the number of emails and telephone calls you receive. But is that contact a scam or genuine?

The run up to Christmas can be a busy time with exciting plans in the diary. When there is so much to do it is easy to get distracted. It is important to consider if that suspicious contact is a scam or genuine.

  • Christmas time scams rely on you being too busy to thoroughly check whether the call or email is genuine!

Take a moment to ask yourself – Is this contact genuine or a Christmas time scam?

This Christmas just take a moment should you be contacted out of the blue by phone or email asking for you to press a number, click a link, make payments or supply your personal or bank details.

  • Banks, HMRC and professional advisors will not send you emails asking you to click on links to confirm your details.
  • You may be expecting a refund from HMRC now that your self-assessment tax return has been submitted, or you may be expecting to make a payment by the deadline of 31 January.
  • Do not be caught out by unwittingly giving payment details to anyone else other than HMRC.

HMRC will never send notifications about tax refunds or rebates by email.

Visit here to see examples of HMRC related phishing emails, suspicious phone calls and texts

Fraud Prevention

The Take Five Campaign has some good advice to help prevent fraud

  1. STOP – Take a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information
  2. CHALLENGE – It is OK to reject, refuse or ignore. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you
  3. PROTECT – contact your bank immediately if you think you have fallen for a scam.

Top Tips

  1. Make sure you take time to get advice before making a decision – do not be pressurised to agree to something there and then.
  2. Do not make payments unless you are happy you know who you are paying and why
  3. Do not give your banking or personal details to someone you do not trust or know.
  4. If you spot a scam or believe you have been scammed then report it.
  5. Never click on links in emails you were not expecting or that you are unsure of. Just open your internet browser and go direct to the website you want to use.
  6. Keep your computer up to date and use up to date anti-virus software
  7. Do not reply to any suspicious text messages or click on links
  8. Report suspicious HMRC emails, text messages and phone calls here 
  9. Get further advice from the National Cyber Security Centre here
  10. Visit action fraud for prevention and reporting

We support our clients through the year to make sure that income and expenses are accounted for and reported accurately. This article is not intended to be an exhaustive list, but will hopefully act as a prompt to help protect you.

Shaw Austin are a firm of Chartered Accountants based in Chester. We support independent business throughout the UK. We take the headache out of business accounting and taxation by providing our clients with a personal service.

This article includes rates and data which is correct on date of publication. This is a general article to assist readers. Professional advice should always be taken in respect of your personal circumstances.

Published December 2022

Christmas time scam