HMRC scammers – spot them, then report them!

Fraudsters are using a variety of approaches to get their hands on your money or gain access to your personal details or bank account.

There are currently a high number of scams where fraudsters are pretending to be HMRC and in response, HMRC has provided some information to help us identify and report these scams.

Here are some examples of the tactics fraudsters are using:

  • A popular approach is to entice you with a tax rebate which asks you to provide bank account details so that HMRC can process your tax repayment.
  • There is a current scam which tells customers they can claim a tax refund to help protect themselves from the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Fraudsters often use scare tactics, claiming that you are in tax arrears and must settle quickly to avoid court action.
  • Some scammers say there HMRC has a warrant out for your arrest because you owe them money.

How to tell if the telephone call, email or text is fake

HMRC has provided a checklist to help you decide if the contact you have received is a scam. It applies for phone calls, emails and text messages.

HMRC says that it could be a scam if it:

  • is unexpected
  • offers a refund, tax rebate or grant
  • asks for personal information like bank details
  • is threatening
  • tells you to transfer money

What else should you look out for?

Suspicious phone calls

HMRC will:

  • only ever call you asking about a claim or payment on a debt that you already know about
  • never leave a voicemail threatening legal action
  • never give the reason for a call on a voice message

WhatsApp messages – If you receive any communication through WhatsApp claiming purporting to be from HMRC it’s a scam. Take a screenshot and forward it as an email. (See below for how to report this.)

Gift or payment vouchers – HMRC will never ask you to pay with gift or payment vouchers.

What to do if you think you’ve already shared personal details with a scammer

If you are concerned that you’ve given your personal details or money to a scammer, contact your bank or payment provider as soon as possible and explain.

 

You should be given advice on protecting your account and assistance with recovering any money you have lost.

Report suspicious HMRC emails, text messages and phone calls

HMRC is encouraging potential victims to report all HMRC related scam emails, suspicious phone calls and text messages to help with their investigations. Details of how to do this can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-revenue-customs/contact/reporting-fraudulent-emails

Tax phishing emails purporting to be from HMRC can happen at any time but are most common around key tax deadlines so with 31 January fast approaching it is especially important to be on your guard.

If you get a text message or email claiming to be from HMRC demanding payment or offering a ‘tax refund’ in exchange for personal or financial details, do not reply and never open any links in the message.

Report misleading websites, emails, phone numbers, phone calls or text messages you think may be suspicious to HMRC and never pay any amounts over to HMRC where details have not been provided directly by your advisors.

Get in touch if you need our advice.


This article is for general guidance only. It provides an outline, and may not include points which are important to your situation. You should not depend on this blog without taking advice based on the full facts of your case. The information given was correct at the time of publication.

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