UK: Cyber crime team to tackle organised tax fraud

The newly-created specialist cyber crime team will protect the exchequer from attempted fraud by cyber criminals who are using increasingly sophisticated ways to target HMRC´s repayment systems. The team is designed to protect both HMRC and taxpayers from organised criminals and will build on HMRC´s existing cyber counter-fraud capability and existing investigation and intelligence work and is a key element of HMRC´s Cyber Crime and Security Strategy.

Recruitment of high calibre technical experts, analysts and investigators will protect HMRC and its customers from fraud using technology funded by the National Cyber Security Programme.

The new cyber team will provide HMRC with a better awareness of the nature of the threat by using specialist forensic tools to exploit intelligence. Giving expert advice on keeping HMRC services secure, they will provide technical expertise to our criminal investigators and present real-time intelligence to our operational risk and security teams.

David Gauke, the Exchequer Secretary, said:

"As more and more of HMRC´s systems move online, cyber criminals will look to exploit any opportunity to attack the repayment system. HMRC is getting ahead of the curve - taking forward what it is already doing in a better way. In the last year alone, customers reported over 200k bogus emails purporting to come from HMRC and, as a result, HMRC shut down close to 1,000 bogus websites."

The new team comes as a result of the Government´s £917m spending review investment to tackle tax evasion, avoidance and fraud from 2011/12, which aims to raise an additional £7bn each year by 2014/15, and funding from the national Cyber Security Programme.

As well as the creation of the specialist cyber crime team, HMRC will be deploying more technology to stop criminal behaviour in real time.

Francis Maude, Minister for Cyber Security, said:

"The Cyber Security Strategy set out the Government´s commitment to build a more trusted and resilient digital environment and protect the public from online fraud as we move more services online.

"This new unit will play a vital role in tackling online organised tax fraud and we have committed National Cyber Security Programme funding to it to ensure we are better prepared to deal with cyber threats and are better able to protect the public and businesses online."

Notes for editors

The new teams will build on HMRC´s successful counter-fraud activity, which includes:

The creation of simple but effective dedicated reporting channels to report the attempted hijack or misuse of passwords or credentialsShutting down bogus websites, claiming to belong to HMRCWorking with other government departments, law enforcement agencies and commercial organizations to reduce and tackle the threat from cyber crime across the public and private sectorWorking closely with high-risk customer groups, such as tax agents, and the publication of security guidance pages on our websiteCriminal investigation of organized crime groups using cyber crime techniques.Follow HMRC on Twitter @HMRCgovuk

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Published on: 2012-03-13

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