It’s a sad thing to have to warn about, given the current situation, but scammers are increasing their activities. They’re attempting to take advantage of people’s fears and vulnerabilities.
Following the Government’s text campaign to tell us all to stay home, many people have received a second text that appears to be from the same number, telling them that they have been seen leaving their homes and have to pay a fine.
This is a scam, and the only action you need to take is to delete the text. Do NOT reply.
There has also been a surge in the more familiar texts and emails claiming to be from HMRC.
These include a range of subjects, as follows:
- You are due a tax refund; just fill in the form and it will come out to you. HMRC do NOT email requesting any information around tax matters. If you fill in the form either your bank account will be emptied or your computer will receive a virus.
- If you are furloughed, you need to provide key information to receive the 80% salary payment. This payment will only some out to your Employer via the HMRC Portal which goes live on the 20th April. You do not need to take any action.
- If you are self-employed, you need to provide your bank account details to receive support through the Self-employed Income Support Scheme. HMRC will write to you about this. You will NOT receive a text or email.
There are a multitude of variations on the above.
Please be extremely careful when you’re opening emails or providing any personal details. Think about what those details could be used for, or whether the request could be fraudulent.
Please also pass the word out to your family and friends that both of these are scams. HMRC will NOT text or email tax payers.
If you’re unsure, please check with us.
You can also check directly on HMRC’s website to see if the contact you have received is genuine. The page to look at is here.
You can report any such phishing scams here.