WARNING: Rise of fraudsters posing as HMRC


With the approach of the self-assessment tax return deadline, scammers claiming to be from HMRC are once again making victims of members of the general public.

The most recent entry into the list of tactics used by scammers is a scheme by which they “clone” the phone number used by the taxman and then inform you of a warrant for your arrest due to unpaid taxes.

Worryingly, because they have managed to copy the number of HMRC (usually 0300 200 3300), call screening actually makes them appear legitimate as opposed to warning you off.

So, how can you make sure that you are protected from any of these fraudsters?

A spokesperson from Action Fraud says:

“Never assume that someone is who they say they are just because their number matches that of an organisation or person you know. If someone tries to draw your attention to the number on your caller ID display, you should immediately become suspicious.”

Regardless, HMRC will never call you out of the blue asking for money, so if you are even slightly in doubt, you should end the call and then call HMRC back from your end. If the person on the other end of the phone threatens that you will be punished for ending the call with intent to redial for safety purposes, they are most certainly a scammer.

Most importantly, HMRC will never send you an email, text message or phone call by which they tell you about a tax rebate or penalty, or ask for your personal and/or payment information. Any of these scenarios should set your alarm bells ringing.

To make yourself aware of potential scams and methods you can use to avoid them, follow the below link and read the gov.uk articles which outline the recognition and reporting of fraudulent activity.

https://www.gov.uk/topic/dealing-with-hmrc/phishing-scams

For help with any of your accounting or business advisory needs, please contact Stack & Jones Accountants on 01869 277973 for a free 1-hour consultation.

Source: Sky News

Image source: Flickr

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