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We’ve seen an increase in the number clients reporting receiving scam letters, emails and phone calls claiming to be from Government agencies – HMRC and Companies House. Most claim that you are entitled to a tax rebate or contain a threat of imminent legal action. Ultimately they are likely to ask you for payment or to hand over your personal or financial details.

Government bodies do use many different channels including emails, texts, phone call, WhatsApp and even QR codes so it can be difficult to distinguish a scam from the real thing. Scams are becoming increasingly sophisticated, often making it very tricky to spot a fake. We’ve pulled together some tips on how to spot a scam from the genuine article. Don’t forget, if you are at all unsure about whether a letter or email is a scam, the Gooding Accounts team are here to help. 

What to check first

Any type of communication could be a scam if it:

  • rushes you
  • is threatening
  • is unexpected
  • asks for personal information like bank details
  • tells you to transfer money
  • offers a refund, tax rebate or grant

A scam might include

  • spelling mistakes
  • poor grammar
  • incorrect email addresses (these might be difficult to spot eg.
  • links to websites which ask you to enter personal details – all genuine pages will begin
  • the lack of personal greeting, instead using ‘Dear customer’ or something similar

How to check the contact details are genuine

You can check the letter, email or phone call is from a genuine source by comparing it to a genuine piece of correspondence or by checking they match HMRC or Companies House contact details on You could even call the genuine government agency using the telephone number available online to confirm whether the communication you have received is the real thing.

Some examples of scams

Over the last few weeks we’ve had clients report a number of scams. Here are a couple of examples to help you spot a fake.

Reporting a scam

If you think you may have been the recipient of a scam you can report the details to either Companies house at or HMRC at

If you think you have may already responded to a scam

HMRC Scams

If you think you’ve given any personal information in reply to a suspicious communication you can contact the HMRC security team directly by email at

Include brief details of what you disclosed (for example name, address, HMRC User ID, password) but do not give your own personal details in the email.

Companies House Scams

If you’ve responded to a message from Companies House which you believe was a scam you can report it to Action Fraud ( for further investigation.

If you’re at all unsure whether a communication you have received is genuine our expert team are here to help. Contact your client manager and they’ll be able to help you determine whether your letter, email or message is part of a scam.

Book an appointment with us today.

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