Protect your business from HMRC QR code scam


HMRC has issued an urgent alert following the latest threat to businesses’ financial security.

A new email scam is targeting businesses and asks customers to scan a QR code, in some cases to see an update on a VAT submission. Once scanned, the code opens a page asking for personal information.

While HMRC does use QR codes, it has warned it would never ask for personal information to be submitted in this way.

Those who have received the email, purporting to be from HMRC, are asked to report it.

How to protect yourself and your business

As scammers become more sophisticated, businesses and individuals must be extremely vigilant when it comes to protecting their personal information and finances.

There are ways of spotting scams and taking the following steps will help ensure you don’t fall victim to this or any other scam:

  • Red flags – Always check for any tell-tale signs such as spelling and grammar mistakes, as well as looking for signs of authenticity by checking the sender's email address and any unusual or unfamiliar links.
  • QR codes – while QR codes are becoming an increasingly convenient way to carry out many tasks, it is important to approach them with caution as they can compromise your personal data. Always verify the source before scanning and use a QR code scanner to preview the URL.
  • Urgent action – any message that rushes you, threatens you, or asks you to transfer money is likely to be a scam.
  • Unexpected contact - if you weren’t expecting the correspondence it’s highly likely to be a scam, but if you aren’t sure, contact the sender via the official website. Don’t reply to the email. Scams often claim to come from places of authority such as HMRC and banks and can even look like internal company emails.

Dangers of falling victim to a scam

Falling victim to scams such as this can have serious consequences, and it only takes one click to potentially open the door to your whole business and the information you hold.

Scammers can also use your personal information to commit identity theft, gain access to your bank accounts, or even set up fraudulent accounts in your name. This can lead to significant financial loss and damage to your credit rating.

We urge everyone to be vigilant and always double-check any communication claiming to be from HMRC.

If you’d like to learn more about how Armstrong Watson can support your business with a cyber risk review, please contact or call 0808 144 5575

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