HMRC Issues Scam Warning
In the last year, HMRC has received 975,420 referrals of suspicious contact from taxpayers, with 552,885 of these relating to bogus tax rebates. This figure is a staggering 71.3% higher than in 2019.
A large proportion of these reports relate to COVID-19, in particular Furlough Scheme and Business Grants, though there have been 450 variations within the theme. Most of these have been sent by text message, but there has also been an increase in the number of emails and phone calls reported.
HMRC have identified 2,968 phone numbers being used for phone related scams, with more than 19,820 malicious websites that were taken down.
As a result, HMRC have reiterated their guidance around scams:
‘If someone calls, emails or texts claiming to be from HMRC, saying that you owe tax and face arrest, are due a tax refund, asking you to transfer money or for bank or other personal details, it might be a scam. Check gov.uk for our scams checklist and to find out how to report tax scams.’
‘Criminals are taking advantage of the package of measures announced by the government to support people and businesses affected by coronavirus. Scammers text, email or phone taxpayers offering spurious financial support or tax refunds, sometimes threatening them with arrest if they don’t immediately pay fictitious tax owed.’
How we can help…
We will always make you aware of any tax rebate that may be due to you, so if you receive any unexpected notifications purporting to be from HMRC, please treat them with extreme caution. If you are asked for personal information, or to follow a link to submit required information, there is an extremely high chance that this will be a scam.
If you are in any way concerned, please get in touch, refer the caller to us, send us the email, or forward us the text message. If it’s genuine, a brief delay will not be a problem, but it could protect you.
Check recent contacts from HMRC
HMRC list recent contacts they’ve issued, which can help you check if a suspicious email, phone call, text or letters could be a scam. You can find that list here, which is regularly updated.
How to report the scammers
HMRC have an online form that you can use to report any fraudulent or malicious contact that you might receive. By doing so, you can help reduce the number of these schemes, and reduce the number of people that are being caught out.
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