I just had two emails. The first was from firstname.lastname@example.org, but it was actually from mail1.bemta100.messagelabs.com. Messagelabs are a remailer, I think what they offer is a virus-checking service. So I don't really know who the email came from, only that it claimed to come from email@example.com. Another concern is the salutation, "Dear VAT MOSS user". They have my details. They know my email address, and they know my full name, and my VAT number. They could have put these details into the email - that would have made me more likely to believe that it was authentically from HMRC.
Next problem - the to: field. The email was sent from firstname.lastname@example.org to email@example.com. As a rule, I expect that any email sent to me with the same from and to address, is spam. People who want to email me, email to my actual email address. I have several email addresses. All of them, except one, are there to receive spam. The real one also gets spam, but the others get nothing but spam.
It was reminding me to submit my VAT Moss return for June-September by October 20. Actually, I've already done that, a few days ago.
And then it said:
2. Don’t forget to pay into the right bank account - the details for your VAT
MOSS payment are:
· Sort Code 08 32 00
· Account Number 12001047
· Account Name HMRC ON VAT E
So I have an email from I-don't-know-who telling me what account to pay my VAT into.
Well, I'm not fresh out of the haystack; I wouldn't dream of sending money to an account that an email told me to use. That email could have been from anyone.
Shortly after (six minutes later), I got a second email.
Please note that the e-mail below was a general e-mail to all VAT MOSS users. If you
have already submitted and paid your Quarter 3 return you can ignore the mail below.
If your MOSS start date is on, or after, 1 October you can also ignore the mail
Sorry for any confusion this might have caused.
I'm filled with confidence in the folks at HMRC. They shouldn't have sent the first letter, because I've already done my VAT Moss, if they were going to send it, they should have mentioned in that first email that it doesn't apply to people who have already done their VAT Moss, but most of all ...
They shouldn't email people with the details of the account to pay into.
A bad person with a yen for money, might decide that it would be a good idea to send out a similar email three months from now, but giving their own bank account as the recipient. I feel sure that tons of people would fall for such a scam, because I see much sillier scams ("we have your $18,900,000 consignments box, please send $50 to release it") that I know work on some gullible people. There's a never ending supply of gullible people, and HMRC should not be acclimatising them to getting emails from HMRC telling them where to send money.