Fraudsters have been quick to take advantage of coronavirus with more than 10,000 phishing scams being investigated as of August. With another lockdown and an extension to the government’s support schemes since then, it’s likely that this number will have increased further in recent weeks.

With email, text, social media and phone scams rising by a massive 337% between March and May, we urge everyone to be extra vigilant during the pandemic.

Senior vice president at cyber security firm, Barracuda Networks commented:

“With HMRC offering a range of financial support packages for businesses and individuals during the pandemic, it’s no surprise that hackers have chosen to exploit the crisis in an effort to cash-in on Covid-19.”

He continued:

“These scams are often cleverly designed with official branding are incredibly realistic, coaxing unsuspecting victims to hand over confidential information such as bank account details, usernames and passwords.”

Just this week a client has forwarded us an email they received pretending to be from the government, offering a tax refund.


As you can see, it’s a very convincing email and with many people in a desperate financial situation because of coronavirus, it’s easy to fall for. There are however a number of clues in the email which suggest it’s likely to be a scam.

  • A strange email address – clearly isn’t HMRC. Always check this before taking action
  • There are spelling and grammatical errors
  • HMRC would never need to ask you for your passport details for anything. Anyone asking you for unnecessary personal information is likely to be a fraudster

If you’re ever unsure about any communication you’ve received claiming to be from HMRC or, please don’t hesitate to contact PKB and we’ll investigate the matter for you.


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