Be aware of increased fraud attempts

In the face of rising fraud, it’s increasingly important for businesses to be on alert. Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime, saw an almost 10% rise in SME business fraud reports between December 2022 and January 2023. They also reported a 12.6% increase in cybercrime reports in the same one month period, where 41.8% of these were invoice fraud.

At Azets, we’re also seeing an increasing number of tax payment fraud attempts among our client base where scammers are posing as HMRC in order to receive payments from unsuspecting businesses and individuals.

A recent specific example is a letter purporting to be from HMRC, but is in fact a Corporation Tax payment fraud attempt. In this case, the telephone number provided for making contact is not an HMRC registered number. As such, we are keen to reiterate that it is incredibly important to be vigilant and cautious whenever any personal information is sought or payment requests come to you directly and to independently verify the details given.

If you need to contact HMRC for any reason, please ensure you get contact details via the official Government website.

If you receive any direct communication from what looks like HMRC, please get in touch with them through an official contact method to ensure it is a legitimate request. If preferred, please contact your usual Azets advisor, who will be in a position to check this for you.

While this is an isolated example, scam attempts are becoming increasingly common. It is critical that any requests you receive are fully scrutinised before you take the requested action.

We are here to help

Our Technology Risk team help protect businesses from the financial loss, reputational damage, legal consequences and regulatory action that can result from insufficient or outdated cybersecurity.

As well as this, our Forensic Accounting team are experienced in conducting fraud investigations of all sizes, including investigating failures of accounting controls. Whether you think that your business has been subject to fraud committed by an employee or compromised by a third party, we can help. This includes instances of cybercrime.

Where appropriate, our Forensic Accounting team also work with our Contentious Insolvency specialists to facilitate asset recovery. Our advisors can work with creditors and other stakeholders to trace and recover the proceeds of fraud and other illegal misfeasance behaviour.

If you are concerned about any recent contact you may have received or need help with asset recovery, please get in touch with a member of our team or your usual Azets advisor.

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