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HMRC offers Customers Extra Help to Protect Against Fraud

The 29th March 2016, saw HMRC start to offer more Self Assessment customers “2 Step Verification” when logging into their Tax Account. This will offer people using online self assessement to be able to link their mobile phone with their log-in details and help protect their account against fraud.

If you choose to activate this service, it will be quick and easy to link your mobile phone. Then, in future when you log in, after you have entered your User ID and Password HMRC will text them a code which you will enter to gain access to your Tax Account. If you lose their phone or change number, 2 Step Verification can be deactivated by ringing the Online Services Helpdesk.

HMRC is working together with professional bodies to increase public awareness of cyber risks and protecting against them; raising awareness about 2 Step Verification is part of that. HMRC is also making customers aware through direct emails, and information bulletins to other partner organisations.

Who is it for?

HMRC already provides 2 Step Verification to all Personal Tax Account customers, and we will start to offer it to Your Tax Account customers who are enrolled in Self Assessment from 29th March. However, our goal is to offer this security enhancement to a wider set of customers in due course.

Why are we introducing it, and what are the benefits for customers?  

  1. Security. We know that criminals attempt to use stolen log-in details to access and exploit customers’ Tax Accounts. Without registered mobile phones, they are far less likely to succeed.
  2. It’s easy, and many of our customers already do it in other walks of life. 2 Step Verification is very common across internet banking and email services.
  3. It’s free.
  4. It is popular with other users - in January 2016 c.600,000 Personal Tax Account users opted-in to use the service.

What do customers need to do?

Look out for the option when logging in to Your Tax Account from 29th March, and simply follow the on-screen steps, with a mobile phone to hand.

HMRC will offer the service who are enrolled in Self Assessment gradually to ensure that customers are comfortable using the service. So it may be several weeks before it appears as an option.

Is it mandatory?

It is optional at this stage because HMRC recognise that this method of 2 Step Verification won’t suit all customers. For instance, if they:

  • work in an area where there is no mobile network coverage;
  • don’t have a mobile phone that they are comfortable using for this purpose; or
  • access Your Tax Account through tax/accounting software.

If you would like more information about the services HMRC offer please do visit their website 

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