As key tax filing deadlines come closer, fraudsters are disguising themselves as HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) representatives to steal money from people
9 December 2019
Most of us are aware of the risk of purchasing fake goods, being caught out by fake news or having our personal or financial information used by criminals. As key tax filing deadlines come closer, fraudsters are ramping up their efforts to steal money from people – and are disguising themselves as HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) representatives.
Recently there have been cases where people have been directly and personally approached by criminals, purporting to be from HMRC. Looking to dupe people into making a payment, the fraudsters are sending texts messages and making telephone calls in an aggressive manner which can catch people off guard. Some people have been told to make a payment immediately or the police will be at their door. Threats of arrest have also been used.
As we approach the Self-Assessment Filing Deadline, tax-related scams sadly intensity. Over the past year, HMRC has received nearly 900,000 reports from people about suspect contact including phone calls, texts or emails. More than 100,000 of these were phone scams, while over 620,000 reports from people were about bogus tax rebates.
If you are approached, please remember:
- Genuine organisations such as HMRC and banks will never contact customers asking for their pin, password or bank details.
- HMRC says customers should never give out private information, reply to text messages, download attachments or click on links in texts or emails which they were not expecting.
- If you’re a client of Shipleys do contact us first. Whilst HM Revenue & Customs will from time to time chase payment by telephone call, this is quite unusual. If you receive an unusual request for payment we recommend saying you will pass the request to your accountant and then alert us to what amounts are being quoted as owed, and how you’re being asked to pay them. We can check if these are legitimate or not.
- Details of suspect calls or emails claiming to be from HMRC can be forwarded to email@example.com and texts to 60599.
- Cases can also be reported to Action Fraud.
As more communications have gone digital and data is more freely available, people are facing greater exposure to scamming. It is therefore important to maintain awareness and stay safe. If you have any concerns about communications you’ve received supposedly from HMRC, please get in touch with your Shipleys’ contact.
Specific advice should be obtained before taking action, or refraining from taking action, in relation to this summary, if you would like advice or further information, please speak to your usual Shipleys contact.
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