Beware of HMRC scams!
During lockdown fraudsters have been actively using the name of HMRC to carry out frauds and identity theft.
There are three main methods – the fraudster will contact targets by phone, text or email presenting themselves as representatives of HMRC.
This is often an aggressive approach suggesting that HMRC have left several messages to an individual regarding taxes due to which no response has been received – HMRC are now arranging the issue of an arrest warrant or proceeding to sue the individual for £x – this would be a final opportunity to settle – the method is to put the individual under pressure due to the urgency of the situation. A twist to this is persons have paid and been advised the payment hasn’t gone through and paid again!
They also contact to suggest an individual is due a tax refund in a bid to obtain financial and/or personal information.
These are usually informing the individual that a refund will be due and they are requesting bank details – of course if someone provides the information it can give the fraudster access – in addition links can be included which if opened could be malware resulting in giving access to personal and financial information to the fraudsters.
The point is that the amounts referred to both tax due or a refund are credible amounts, that is to say not ridiculously high or ridiculously low as to not really interest the intended victim – something like £200 – £500 is typical.
Below are the main methods used by the fraudsters that you should be aware of – consider taking some basic steps to help prevent these scams affecting you:
- HMRC WILL NOT contact taxpayers by any of these methods to advise of tax refunds/liabilities it will ALWAYS be by post
- HMRC WILL NOT ask for personal information from taxpayers; they would already have the information
- If a person has a professional advisor refer this to them
- HMRC have an alert line to verify any such communications 0300 123 2040
- Set up a Personal Tax Account with HMRC via their website homepage – it is easy to do and takes 15/30 minutes – with this you can quickly verify your tax status independently