In recent months there have been a variety of scams reported relating to HMRC or tax fraud. Some of the most frequent scams are:
- An automated message tells you that HMRC are filing a lawsuit against you. You are asked to press 1 to be connected to a caseworker;
- A cold caller tells you that you are being charged with tax fraud. In order to avoid court action you are asked to send a copy of your passport and to pay over £1,000;
- A cold caller tells you that you owe up to £500 in unpaid tax and will be arrested in a couple of hours if you don’t pay immediately. You may be asked to make the payment in vouchers or prepaid cards for Amazon or Google Play;
- You’re contacted on social media by someone saying that they can help you claim a tax rebate. You’re asked to provide £500 in Amazon vouchers.
- A consumer was called by someone posing as HMRC staff, saying that he owed them money in unpaid tax and that a warrant would be issued for his arrest if he didn’t pay. He agreed to make three payments, each between £200 and £400. When he couldn’t transfer any more money, the caller asked for subsequent payments to be paid in Amazon vouchers. At this point, the man realised that the call was not genuine and contacted Advice Direct Scotland for help.
What to do if you receive a similar call or message
- Do not press 1 or follow any other instructions given in an automated message
- If you are speaking to a person, don’t give them any personal information or bank details, even if they seem to know some of your details already
- Don’t click on any buttons or links in unsolicited emails, even if they look official
- Contact your bank immediately if you think you may have made a payment to a scammer or if you are worried that a fraudulent transaction has been made from your account. Use the phone number on your bank statement or a publicly listed number (don’t use a number given to you by a cold caller). To ensure that you are disconnected from the cold caller, phone another number such as 123 before phoning your bank or call them from another phone
- Report any scam calls related to HMRC through their website