The last thing you need is for your tax return to be compromised by online fraudsters. Here are 8 simple tips to keep in mind while filing your self-assessment tax return online.
1. Double check domain names
When you click through to links from search engines or websites, carefully read the domain name that appears in your browser. Look out for extra words, misspellings, added characters and anything but the usual hmrc.gov.uk ending.
2. Check URL
Please ensure that the web address (URL) begins with “https://” and not “http://”. The ‘s” stands for secure.
3. Scan homepage content
Read the homepage of the website – it might actually say that it’s not affiliated with the HMRC.
4. Search engine results
HMRC’s official site appears in the first or second place for organic (not paid for) search rankings. Keep an eye for the paid-for search engine results which appear in yellowed boxed adverts at the top of the page.
5. Downloading tax forms
6. Browser version
Make sure you regularly update your browsers with the latest security patches to minimise any vulnerabilities. Also enable browser phishing and malware protection filters.
7. Avoid using public Wi-Fi
Never file your taxes or reveal any sensitive information such as credit card or personal details over an unencrypted Wi-Fi connection like the one we use at coffee shops or public spaces.
8. Get help
If you think you may have fallen victim to an online tax scam, report it immediately to HMRC. And if you feel you are being misled by any Google advert you can report your concerns to Google here.