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Companies in the UK that have applied for the VAT payments deferral announced by the government are being hit with scam emails that claim to be from HMRC.

This email informs the recipients that the application they submitted to defer their VAT bills due to the pandemic has been turned down, before going on to state that the reason for this rejection is that the person making the claim is in VAT arrears. The email features an exact replica of the graphics and branding used by HMRC, and also contains a fake document that it states provides a detailed report outlining the reasons for the decision, and a password for the recipient to use to open it.

Once they have done this, the person receiving the email is re-routed to a scam website, where they are told they need to provide data such as payment information and passwords, which the scammers then use for their own purposes.

Under the government initiative, firms that are struggling with the fallout of the pandemic can defer payments of VAT until March next year. This scam has already been reported by a minimum of 100 owners of businesses. It is one of several email scams aimed at companies applying for government COVID-19 help, as SEISS and tax relief grant applicants were also targeted.

The prevalence of sophisticated cyber fraud is one of the reasons why many business owners prefer to have professional accounting services in Goole, or wherever they live, deal with their financial matters.

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