HORSHAM MP Francis Maude trumpeted the creation of a cyber crime team to tackle tax fraud by HM Revenue & Customs yesterday (March 14).
The new team will protect the exchequer from attempted fraud by cyber criminals who are using increasingly sophisticated ways to target HMRC’s repayment systems.
It is hoped the 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.
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.”
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.