Today I received an email which appeared to come from the HMRC Gateway with the email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
The message states:
The submission for reference 485/GB9807963 was successfully received and was not processed.
Check attached copy for more information.
This is an automatically generated email. Please do not reply as the email address is not monitored for received mail.
and it includes a zipped file attachment.
This is a concern for those of us that use the HMRC Gateway for filing our annual tax return but although the email may look genuine be aware that this is a scam, it’s not from HMRC at all and the attachment contains a Trojan that will harm your computer if opened.
I use Norton Internet Security Suite which caught the email and junked it. If your security didn’t catch it delete the message and buy Norton.
Yes, you probably guessed it, the simple answer is – it’s you.
If you practice safe and smart computing then it greatly reduces the chances of your PC being infected with something malicious and harmful. Here are some basic tips;
- Don’t open unexpected attachments: Beware of unexpected email attachments even if you know the sender. Their PC may have become infected and it could be auto-generating malicious emails that are sent out to people in their contact list
- Beware of links: It’s easy to spoof URLs within emails so if you’re suspicious then don’t click the link. Be especially careful if you receive a notice that appears to come from your bank or from PayPal as it may be a phishing scam
- Keep Your Mail Client, Web Browser, and Operating System up-to-date: These updates will patch potential security holes that may be exploited by malware
- Avoid the dark side. Sites that provide illegal downloads or triple-X rated content are popular places to set digital traps, so avoid
- Close pop-ups with care: Use Alt-F4 to close unwanted pop-up ads rather than clicking the X button as X may be part of the ad thereby taking you somewhere that you don’t want to go
- Use anti-virus software: This will provide protection against many known infections and prevent them from being passed on to others without your knowledge
As Sergeant Esterhaus used to say, “Let’s be careful out there”