HMRC advice on scams
We get many calls from clients who are worried about unexpected phone calls, texts or emails apparently from HMRC and sadly in many cases, these are scams. HMRC has issued the following advice, if you are contacted in this way:
- Households with a landline number should be vigilant about phone calls from fraudsters pretending to be the UK tax authority.
- Criminals are turning increasingly to the traditional method of cold-calling publicly available phone numbers to steal money from taxpayers. Often these calls are to landline numbers and fraudsters are able to make them appear to come from genuine HMRC numbers, to make them look legitimate.
- If you receive a suspicious call to your landline from someone purporting to be from HMRC which threatens legal action, to put you in jail, or demands payment using vouchers, hang up and report it to HMRC, which will work to take the fraudsters off the network.
- Contact HMRC using one of the numbers or online services available from GOVUK, from a different phone line.
- You should also report any suspicious emails and details of calls to email@example.com so the department can work with Ofcom to take them off the network.
- Phone scams often target the elderly and vulnerable using HMRC’s brand as it is well-known and adds credibility to a fraudster’s call.
- HMRC received more than 60,000 reports of phone scams in six months up to January 2019. This is an increase of 360% compared with the six months before this.
- Last year alone HMRC requested the removal of more than 400 unique numbers being used to conduct phone scams.
- HMRC’s advice is that if you ever give your bank details to a fraudster, contact Action Fraud and your bank immediately.
Email and other phishing scams
- Genuine organisations like banks and HMRC will never contact you out of the blue to ask for your PIN, password or bank details.
- Don’t give out private information, reply to text messages, download attachments or click on links in emails you weren’t expecting.
- Take action - forward suspicious emails and details of suspicious calls claiming to be from HMRC to firstname.lastname@example.org,and texts to 60599, or contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use their online fraud reporting tool if you suffer financial loss.
- Check GOVUK for information on how to avoid and report scams and recognise genuine HMRC contact.
- If you think you have received an HMRC-related phishing/ bogus email or text message, you can check it against the examples on GOVUK.